Technology

Ronald Bailey to Comment on Johan Norberg's Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future

The book event will be at the Cato Institute headquarters in DC on October 12.

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NorbergCato
Cato Institute

Looking beyond the rancor and discontents of the current election cycle, most global trends are positive. If you don't believe that Johan Norberg's excellent new book, Progress: Ten Reason to Look Forward to the Future will change your mind. Norberg will make his case at a book event at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC on Wednesday, October 12 at 11 a.m. As the Cato website notes:

Every day we're bludgeoned by news of how bad everything is—financial collapse, unemployment, poverty, environmental disasters, disease, hunger, war. Indeed, our world now seems to be on the brink of collapse, and yet: We've made more progress over the last 100 years than in the first 100,000. Some 285,000 more people have gained access to safe water every day for the last 25 years. In the last 50 years world poverty has fallen more than it did in the preceding 500. By almost any index you care to identify, things are markedly better now than they have ever been for almost everyone alive. Examining

ProgessCover
Oneworld

official data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, Johan Norberg traces just how far we have come in tackling the issues facing our species. While it's true that not every problem has been solved, we do now have a good idea of the solutions and we know what it will take to see this progress continue.

So click on over to the Cato website to register for the event. Hope to see you there.

NEXT: Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström win Nobel Prize in Economics

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  1. Technology ‘could’ make the future world a much better place. But there’s this hideous disease threatening to derail that. It’s name is government.

    1. And automation. You know its name.

      1. “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded ? here and there, now and then ? are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

        This is known as “bad luck.”

        ? Robert A. Heinlein

        1. Venezuela is apparently having some of this “bad luck” right now.

          1. Just a touch. Mostly due to the Kulaks, wreckers, hoarders.

  2. ” We’ve made more progress over the last 100 years than in the first 100,000″

    The problem with this is that there are other time periods in history where this was true and yet they were followed by dark ages.

    The fact that civilization has engaged in an extended period of rapid advancement is in no way shape or form a defense against a collapse of that civilization or evidence that it’s long term prospects are good

    1. To Bailey and Norberg:

      Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilization, what there is particularly immortal about yours?

      …G K Chesterton

      1. s/civilization/society/g

        Same mistake as those who conflate “government” and “society”.

        1. That’s a bit opaque, can you clarify?

          1. Just because Babylonian and other civilizations have failed doesn’t mean civilization in the generic sense fails.

            Same as if GM goes bankrupt; doesn’t mean all auto manufacturers go bankrupt, or the auto industry, or industry in general. That has always been one of the great fallacies behind industry bailouts — that if we don’t bail out Chrysler, or GM, or Lehman Bros, it’s DOOOOOM. Amost all the workers will continue working at the new company producing the same thing as before; the investors will lose their shirts, but they got the big rewards for taking that risk.

  3. Did Bailey get himself some Botox or something there? He looks years younger in that pic.

    1. J: If only I could look that good! Just in case it’s not sarc – it’s a photo of Norberg.

      1. What’s Zoidberg, chopped liver?

    2. Ron’s also looking sort of Scandinavian today.

  4. Looking beyond the rancor and discontents of the current election cycle, most global trends are positive.

    It makes one wonder why state actors are fighting it so hard, though.

  5. Apples and oranges.

    It is great to hear that there are so very significant trends that are quite positive. But the fact that more people in Africa have clean drinking water, doesn’t change the fact that there are many reasons to be pessimistic about the direction our government is taking this country.

  6. Every day we’re bludgeoned by news of how bad everything is

    I blame the eradication of smallpox. A good population-decimating plague every now and again helps remind you of what a real problem looks like. Does anybody think those whiny crybabies at Oberlin would be complaining about trigger warnings if they were being attacked by a horde of Mongols? Would Hillary be whining about income inequality if a famine wiped out 50 or 60 million Democratic-Americans? Would the BLM folks be protesting racism if alien invaders were swooping in in their spaceships and carrying them off by the boatload to a life of slavery in some far-off foreign world? I cried because I had no shoes until I met a virus that caused my feet to fall off.

    1. whining about income inequality if a famine wiped out 50 or 60 million Democratic-Americans?

      +1 obesity epidemic.

    2. Where is a good asteroid when you need one?

      1. They’re all too busy hanging out in the cool parts of the Solar System to ever consider hooking up with a 2 bit loser of a planet like earth

    3. Jerryskids is Paul Krugman?!?!?!?

      1. Good God No. Der Krugger has no sense of humor.

        1. Which is weird, because he makes me laugh.

    4. “Does anybody think those whiny crybabies at Oberlin would be complaining about trigger warnings if they were being attacked by a horde of Mongols?”

      You’ve made a pretty solid case for a Mongol invasion.

  7. Is this the “Dead Wrong” guy? Nice dry sense of humor, he has.

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