If Everything Is Getting Better, Why Do We Remain So Pessimistic?

Policy Forum
November 19, 2014
11:00AM to 12:30PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; with comments by Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute; and Charles Kenny, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development; moderated by Marian L. Tupy, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.
Evidence from academic institutions and international organizations shows dramatic improvements in human well-being. These improvements are especially striking in the developing world. Unfortunately, there is often a wide gap between reality and public perceptions, including that of many policymakers, scholars in unrelated fields, and intelligent lay persons. To make matters worse, the media emphasizes bad news, while ignoring many positive long-term trends. Please join us for a discussion of psychological, physiological, cultural, and other social reasons for the persistence of pessimism in the age of growing abundance.

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