The world has never been better. From global poverty to inequality between nations, all the indicators are showing progress. This is a comforting narrative – popularized by the likes of Bill Gates and Steven Pinker. But is it true? Jason Hickel examines the rise of this so-called ‘New Optimism’, with its ‘battle cry for the status quo’.
Politicians of both Left and Right continue to march behind the banners of meritocracy and equality of opportunity as if this were all that is needed to achieve a fair society. But rewarding people for their ‘merit’ may be creating a new class system based on arrogant, insensitive winners and angry, desperate losers, writes Peter Adamson.
While it is clear that equality matters in terms of health and happiness, surprising new data reveals that it is also better for the environment – in the more equal rich countries, people on average consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon.
The political landscape may seem particularly bleak at present. But, if we stand back and look at the bigger picture, the dominance of rightwing populists and neoliberal policies is likely to be a temporary blip. The evidence is mounting that greater economic equality benefits all people in all societies, whether you are rich, poor or in-between. Once this is widely understood, politicians and policymakers will be forced to take note, as Danny Dorling explains.
Small things, as suggested by CN Lester. But if every cis – or ‘not trans’ – person followed them, we’d be living in a kinder world.
|Article title||From magazine||Publication date|
|What if…||Covid-19 lessons from the pandemic||September, 2020|
|Lessons from the pandemic||Covid-19 lessons from the pandemic||September, 2020|
|A living wage for the world?||How we make poverty||March, 2020|
|Progress and its discontents||The right to the city||July, 2019|
|The merit trap||Making peace in a world at war||September, 2018|
|Country Profile: Botswana||The next financial crisis||July, 2018|
|Home sweet home||The next financial crisis||July, 2018|
|Calypso Rose||Public ownership rises again||May, 2018|
|Country Profile: Paraguay||Black Lives Matter||March, 2018|
|The obscenity of extreme wealth||What's left for the young?||January, 2018|
|Get up, stand up!||Humans vs robots||November, 2017|
|Plutocrats and paupers||Humans vs robots||November, 2017|
|The age of disruption||Humans vs robots||November, 2017|
|Firing up the change||The Equality Effect||July, 2017|
|The rich, the poor and the earth||The Equality Effect||July, 2017|
|When we were more equal||The Equality Effect||July, 2017|
|The Equality Effect||The Equality Effect||July, 2017|
|Transgender – the facts||The transgender revolution||October, 2015|
|Nine seriously easy things to do… to support trans people||The transgender revolution||October, 2015|
|Pathways & possibilities||Capitalism is spinning out of control||July, 2015|