The World is Better…
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Tired of all the doom and gloom news from mainstream media? You’ll get none of that here. Instead, you’ll find inspiring stories and developments that are making the world a better place.
Today… In the first episode of the Great News Podcast, I want to go over the 4 main reasons I wanted to start this show.
- Mainstream media news is strongly biased toward bad news. Why is that?
- We tend to think the statel’état of the world is getting worse over time! But is it?
- People are happier when they understand that things are getting better and I want to spread the word.
- What are my assumptions and inspirations for creating this show? What resources and content sources am I using?
My name is Andrew McGivern and this is the Great News Podcast.
Why is the mainstream media so biased toward bad news?
Bad news sells newspapers, and gets clicks, and attention.
We are wired to respond to bad news in a more aggressive way. Our fight or flight response kicks in when we see a bad news headline. This is baked into our genes. Our ancestors that didn’t respond this way didn’t pass on their genes.
Bad news happens suddenly and good news happens incrementally.
An earthquake or plane crash happens suddenly and has serious consequences. Cancer research and breakthroughs happen slowly over time.
Problems get solved and we move on to other problems.
The focus is on the current problems. We forget about all the great solutions of the past and give greater importance to the problems we are facing.
The Great News Podcast is great, but the Great News Letter is greater…
Don’t miss the next issue…
One of my favorite books is Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
In the book, they talk about the gap between our perceptions of the world and reality. We think the world is far worse than it is and that it is getting worse year over year. Well, the world, in general, is better than we think in almost every measurable way and the trend is that it is getting better over time. And has been getting better for a long time.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is great and we can stop trying to make things better. Just because the world is better than it has ever been doesn’t mean that it is acceptable… we can and should continue to make things better. And I believe the evidence is overwhelming that we are improving.
And the more we work towards a better future the faster we will get there.
Get the Book
The authors of Factfulness have a great organization and website over at gapminder.com. There, they have quizzes you can take which will test your knowledge about the world and whether or not you have a reality-based worldview.
In the book, they explain that most people score poorly on the gapminder tests.
Most people believe the world is much worse than it actually is.
Why do we have such negative views of the world?
It isn’t all the mainstream media’s fault.
We were taught in school about the developing world and how bad the conditions are there. They live in absolute poverty without access to clean water or sewage systems. No vaccinations or basic medicalmédical care.
What we don’t realize is that the developing world has developed over time and now there are only a handful of countries in absolute poverty. But some countries are still in regular poverty which is still not so good.
A lot of these countries are not satisfied with regular poverty and are working towards joining the rest of the developed world in prosperity.
Have you ever heard people say that they don’t want to bring children into this horrible world?
When I hear that the first thing I ask is when would it have been better?
At what time in history would it be better to have children? 20 years, 30 years, 100 years or 300 years.
In the book Your World, Better by Charles Kenny, he gives a great example of what life was like 300 years ago.
If you were living in France and were the richest and most powerful man in Europe, King Louie 14th, would that be a better era to have children?
Well, King Louie had five children. Two of them died before they reached six months of age. Another two died before reaching the age of five! And the other died before he did at the age of fifty.
His wife also passed away early. All of them died of infections that would not be fatal today. One of them died from Small Pox which doesn’t even exist today.
Certainly, that was a bad time to have children if they were likely to suffer and die young.
But what about the quality of life for those that survived?
King Louie and his family and 350 others lived in Versailles. An opulent palace and the best place in Europe to live at the time.
But there were no toilets. Some people had pots that they could use which would be removed from their rooms but others just had to go in the corner of the room.
Almost everyone was illiterate and if you could read, most books were banned and the ones that weren’t were so expensive nobody could afford them.
And there was no electricity. Versailles was lit by 6000 candles. Today the poorest people in the developed world can buy some LED lights that emit more light than all those candles combined.
Now imagine how life was for the regular people living outside the palace… It would be unbearable for most of us.
We could do this exercise for 200 years, 100 years, or 50 years ago. And the closer it gets to NOW the better life is.
There are more opportunities and equality than there have ever been in history.
People get depressed when they look at the sickness, violence, racism, and oppression happening around the world.
But if you ask compared to when, you will see that all of these horrors have been decreasing over time. And are at all-time lows… and there is no reason to believe the trend will not continue.
People feel more empowered when they believe things are getting better. People who understand that the world is progressively improving are happier.
It has been shown that people who write a gratitude journal feel better about their lives. And are happier as a result. I believe that if you think the world is going to hell on a handbasket and there is no hope for redemption then that belief leaves you disheartened and apathetic.
How would that person feel if they realized things are not as bad as they thought? In fact, they are better than they have ever been in history. That there are people who are working hard to improve the world and they are succeeding. And that they have the power to make a difference.
That is the ultimate goal of this podcast.
What assumptions am I making? What sources am I using?
The assumptions I’m making in this podcast are that technology and human innovation is a double edge sword. We can use it for good or we can use it to destroy ourselves. Whether true or not… I’m assuming we are working towards a common good. And that we will not destroy ourselves.
I am inspired by the work of economist Julian Simon, Dr. Hans Rosling, Elon Musk, and great minds like Albert Einstein, I draw from great resources like Gapminder, Human Progress, New Atlas, the conversation, optimist daily, and more. A full list of good news resources is in the show notes.
If this show interests you then I encourage you to follow or subscribe (it’s free) in your favorite podcast app. And if you like the great news podcast then you’ll love the great newsletter. Get the sources and good news stories delivered to your inbox. The Great News Podcast is Great but the Great News Letter is GREATER. Start your day with some great news.
So in future episodes, we will look at some progress we’ve made over time.
There will be a few different formats for the Great News Podcast.
Most episodes will feature the great news of the day. It will be a potpourri of good news items of that day.
Other episodes will be themed covering a problem and some current solutions. The topics I want to cover include deforestation, mass extinction, climate change, water shortages, pollution, violence and crime, and more.
The third format will be called Feedback Friday and that is where you get to participate. Once the show grows enough to generate comments, questions, and suggestions from the audience then I will start doing these episodes.
If you have a question you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free at 1-877-636-1474 and leave a voice mail so that I can play in the show.
I will also monitor @greatnewspod on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages for feedback as well.
Of course, I would prefer to hear your voice so if you can call in the feedback that is the best option. If you don’t remember the number you can always go to greatnewspodcast.com/feedback.