Quote of the Day – Matt Ridley Edition

From his recent Uncommon Knowledge interview on his new book How Innovation Works:

The late Hans Rosling, who is one of the so-called Godfathers of rational optimism…he did a poll of a thousand people in the U.S. and they need to repeat it in the UK and a number of countries, and he said: “In the last 20 years, has the percentage of the world population that lives in extreme poverty halved, doubled, or stayed the same?  Which of those do you think is correct?”  In the US about 65% of people think it’s doubled and about 5% think it’s halved.  The 5% are right and the 65% are wrong.

That’s striking enough, but then he says- “Hang on.  If I wrote those three answers on three bananas and threw them to a chimpanzee, the chimp would pick up the right answer 33% of the time.  It would do six times as well as human beings at answering a question about human society.  That’s the measure of how much we’ve indoctrinated ourselves into global pessimism.

ABCNNBCBS and all the rest of media, news and entertainment, are to blame for this.  Good news doesn’t sell.

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