Academic journal article et Cetera

The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse

Academic journal article et Cetera

The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse

Article excerpt

Gregg Easterbrook. The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. New York: Random House, 2004.

Gregg Easterbrook believes that practically everything is getting better. For example, he states that national crime rates have been plummeting, American life-expectancy has nearly doubled in a century, environmental trends in the United States and Europe (except for greenhouse-gas accumulation) are positive, and steep rises in family breakup and teen pregnancy rates have been halted. With air-conditioning, antibiotics, clean water, and indoor plumbing, the quality of life in America is the best it has even been in human history. Yet many of us are anxious and depressed (there has been a ten-fold increase in diagnosed depression in western countries).

If most things are getting better for most people, why don't Americans behave as though they believe this? Easterbrook says the fundamental reason is that most people are too busy concentrating on what they don't have rather than on what they have. Instead of being grateful for the modern conveniences that abound in society, many of us focus on keeping up with the Joneses or regretting that we bought product x rather than product y. …

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