There are a lot of good things happening. For example, academic education is within reach of far more people in poor countries, child mortality has dramatically improved, the number of malaria cases are down, and so forth.
Yet as long as things are still bad for so many people, we feel it’s heartless for us to say they’re getting better. Everything in the world is not fine, but it’s ridiculous to not acknowledge the progress that has been made.
But things can be both bad and better.
Think of the world as a premature baby in an incubator. The baby’s health status is extremely bad and her breathing, heart rate and other important signs are tracked continually so that changes for better or worse can be quickly seen. After a week, she is getting a lot better though she still has to stay in the incubator because her health is still critical.
Does it make sense to say that the infant’s situation is improving? Yes!
Does it make sense to say her health is bad? Yes!
It’s both bad and better! That is how we must think about the current state of the world.
[Excerpt from “Factfulness – Why things are better than you think” By Hans Rosling]