Realistic Optimism

by Patrick Appel

Charles Kenny brings it to development. William Easterly sums up a few of the successes Kenny is highlighting:

Global infant mortality has halved since 1960. The poorest countries are steadily catching up to the richest on other critical measures of the quality of life: life expectancy, literacy, political and civil rights – not to mention beer production per capita.

Kenny's thesis:

Realistic optimism is the right attitude with which to face the issue of development… a recognition of the challenges still facing the world – significant progress to be made, limits to the likely speed of that progress…. But we should also acknowledge that the rapid and unprecedented improvement in global quality of life over the past fifty years provides some significant grounds for hope about the future.