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IPFS News Link • General Opinion

Stossel: Life Is Better Than Ever


Don't believe news reports—we're healthier, richer, and safer than ever before.

News reports often give the impression that human beings have wrecked the earth, the middle class is disappearing, and the world is getting more dangerous.

"We are destroying the planet," Michael Moore says on CNN. MSNBC says that "the middle class is disappearing." The media warn us about things like a "deadly Ebola outbreak."

This negativity comes from the way humans are wired by evolution, says Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward.

She tells John Stossel: "If you are a caveman who hears a little rustling in the weeds, and you say, 'Oh, it's probably fine,' the other guy who says, 'It's probably a tiger,' that's the guy who lives. That guy was our ancestors."

But our instincts are wrong, she says. We needn't be so scared.

The cover of the August/September 2019 issue of Reason features a glass that's completely full. Inside the magazine, you'll read about how there is less war and more food. And we're healthier, while working safer and more fulfilling jobs.

Mangu-Ward points out that today we have medical breakthroughs that would've once been called miracles. Deaf children receive cochlear implants that allow them to hear for the first time. Artificial limbs "allow the lame to walk."

"These are things that, in another era, would have caused the founding of an entire religion!" says Mangu-Ward.

Stossel pushes back: "What about this constant complaint from the media?…The middle class is shrinking."

"Mostly it's because people are getting richer," Mangu-Ward responds.

She's right. A graph in Reason shows that about 50 years ago, 53 percent of people were middle-income, making between $35,000 and $100,000 per year. Although that statistic has since fallen to 42 percent, the reason is that many people moved into upper-income brackets. The share making more than $100,000 rose from 8 percent to almost 28 percent. (These numbers are inflation-adjusted.)