By Alexander Green With the market in the midst of a correction, it’s not a bad time to recognize that the economy and the world – by virtually every important measure – are on an overwhelmingly positive path.
In a column two weeks ago, I referred to a New York Times interview with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The two men emphasized how modern life is getting steadily better, thanks to groundbreaking medicines, more labor-saving devices, new technologies and so on.
Too few investors fully appreciate this.
We in the West today are living longer, healthier, safer, richer, freer lives than any people in the history of the world. Bill Gates calls it “the greatest story that no one knows.”
Just a few examples… War between states is down. Violent crime is down. Domestic violence is down. Child abuse is down. Abortion rates are down. Carbon emissions are down.
Poverty rates are also down. (And not just in the West. A new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington just reported that eight of the 20 nations in the world with the fastest-rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa.)
Meanwhile, leisure time, educational attainment, human life spans and average household net worth are all up.
If you understand this, it makes sense to be an equity investor. After all, modernization and innovation provide opportunities – as do problems that need to be solved.
Why do so many investors cling to their pessimism – and settle for low returns?
One reason, of course, is that our society faces serious problems. The world isn’t perfect – and never will be. There is always room for improvement.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what’s right with the world – or how good things are for most of us.
Instead of seeing the big picture, many of us marinate in a sea of negativity.
A new 255-page report from the RAND Corporation, “Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life,” reveals that Americans are overwhelmed by the fire hose of information hitting them daily from the internet, social media, newspapers, magazines, cable television and talk radio.
So just as music lovers find the channel that plays their favorite songs, we tune in to just the kind of news and commentary we want to hear.
Conservatives, for example, tend to listen to Rush Limbaugh, read The Wall Street Journal and watch Fox News. Progressives, on the other hand, are more likely to listen to National Public Radio, read The Washington Post or The New York Times, and watch MSNBC.
The internet allows us to fine-tune our “likes” even more. You can always find an online community that shares your point of view, no matter how sophisticated… or kooky.
As a result, people sort themselves into “information silos.” And because journalism now blends with editorial, we end up hearing the same talking points over and over again.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Today’s technologies have eliminated barriers into public conversation. Now everyone can be …read more
Source:: Investment You