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#37 – Marian Tupy: Things Are Not As Bad As They Appear

“Things are a lot less worse than we think they are. We have a built-in negativity bias from evolution that makes us generally pessimistic. When you start to look at the data you see things are not as bad as we think and are really better in many ways.”

Marian Tupy (senior policy analyst at the @The Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity) co-author of Ten Global Trends (Every Smart Person Should Know) and I discuss global trends, economic inequality between countries, and a realistic look at the current state of the trajectory of the world.

Find more Marian Tupy at his website and on Twitter @HumanProgress

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Show Notes:
[2:00] Marian Tupy speaks about his work with the Cato Institute, analyzing the data of different countries worldwide. He gives background to Mikhaila how digging into the numbers actually changed his pessimistic view on world trajectory to an overall positive outlook to where humanity as a whole is headed.
[6:00] Negativity biases are built into us through survival due to natural selection. Humans that had a higher reaction to possible danger were the ones that survived to have kids. Now we as a race tend to naturally gravitate toward imagining and operating, assuming the worst-case scenario.
[8:00] Mikhaila asks Marian to cover some of the main misconceptions commonly held when it comes to global trends.
[10:00] Two dollars per person per day is what the world bank estimates to be the absolute poverty level. If a person is making this amount or any less, they will be starving to death most likely. Trend data shows that average income across the whole world has risen from the eighteen hundreds from two dollars a day to about forty dollars a day, and that is with both those numbers adjusted for inflation difference.
[12:00] “Modern life and abundance of resources has only been around for 0.08% of our time on earth.” Human psychology has not really fully adapted to generally having what we need to survive and be happy just yet.
[14:00] Climate change is a hot topic. What was ten or twenty years ago a very disputed topic is now accepted by most to be fact. What trends does the data support on the human influence on climate into the future?
[17:00] Tupy outlines the two main camps that have formed while seeking to address climate change. Those who believe that limiting population and usage of resources (what Marian refers to as a restrictionist), and those who believe climate change will be addressed through technological innovation and adaptation as many crises.
[20:00] Marian and Mikhaila discuss possible alternatives to C02 producing energy production. Nuclear power is an already available alternative.
[22:00] Is nuclear power a safe option to use? Incidents in Fukushima and Chernobyl have cast a very negative public view on nuclear usage. Marian believes that humanity improves its designs and processes through the direct result of encountering problems. “Adversity is how we as humans usually learn”
[25:00] Another issue on many minds is overpopulation. Is this going to be an issue in the near future?
[32:00] Marian and Mikhaila talked about misconceptions in trends, and now they take a look at real trends that may be very troubling for everyone if they continue. What trends would we be concerned with? Freedom of speech in western society is one area Tupy says they have been watching closely.
[37:30] Political correctness at its worst can even influence the science or technology a country invests in. Lysenkoism in the soviet union was an example of bad science because the Soviet government didn’t want research surrounding genetics as it was a politically incorrect subject for the time.
[42:00] Are monopolies operating in capitalist nations an issue?
[44:00] Positive trends in I.Q. from the nineteen hundreds to the early 2000s have added, on average, almost thirty I.Q points to the global population. It also appears the opportunity to use higher than average I.Q. to better oneself, and the world has never been at a higher point in history.
[52:00] Marian explains how the human life span is increasing, and not just the one percent. The average life span of the richest people in the nineteen hundreds was about 50 years.
[56:30] Infant mortality was dreadful even as recently as a few hundred years ago.
[58:00] Washing of hands was discovered not long ago; even the notion of germs is a completely modern concept.
[1:00:30] Find more of Marian Tupy at his website, a source that is always trying to provide positive stories of human triumph in a difficult world, and read his book Ten Global Trends to further investigate if what we are all assuming in the world is truly happening