Sunday, 2 August 2015

Apocalypse Later - WSJ

Along the lines of Matt Ridley's "The Rational Optimist" and Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of our Nature" (both on my bookshelves), now comes "The End of Doom" by Ronald Bailey. 

Here reviewed by Nigel Lawson whose only comment I'd not agree with are his last ones on climate change. Lawson is well known as a climate change sceptic. (Or "denier" if you will). Also well known as the father of the luscious Nigella Lawson, she of the sexy in your face smile as she whips up an equally luscious concoction. 

There are issues with the environment and carbon emissions, to be sure. But even on these issues the growth of wealth is providing solutions. Industrialization which caused the problems also has the capacity to solve them. Getting richer leads countries, companies and people to pay more attention to the environment. We're seeing this in China already. 

The basic line of all these books, and with which I agree as I'm moved by evidence, is that we've never had it so good. The stats are there. Yet everyone I know seems to think we're badly off and getting worse. 


As Pope Francis' recent encyclical, "Laudato Si'," puts it: "We may be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth."

Ronald Bailey begs to differ. As his book demonstrates, a careful examination of the evidence shows that, at least in material terms (which is not unimportant, particularly for the world's poor), life is getting better. The overriding reason for this, according to Mr. Bailey, is continuing technological progress, facilitated—and this is crucial—by the global triumph of market capitalism.

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