In contrast to the prevailing view that all news is bad news, Dalrymple looks at the big picture and sees dramatic human progress:
Worldwide life expectancy between 1970 and 2010 rose at a rate of 3-4 years per decade, except for the 1990s, when the rate of improvement was considerably lower. In Asia and Latin America, the average age at death rose by 1 year every 2 years, a startling rate of improvement. But the greatest improvement in recent years has been in sub-Saharan Africa: life expectancy in Angola, Ethiopia, Niger and Rwanda has increased by 10 – 15 years since 1990…Of course, it is easier to produce dramatic improvements starting from a low base; where infant mortality rates are high, it is relatively easy to extend life expectancy. And in fact the worldwide death rate of children under the age of 9 has fallen by nearly two thirds since 1970. This is in complete contradiction to the gloomy prognostications of that time, when many so-called savants predicted perpetual mass famine. If freedom from mortal disease is part of the good life, the world has been improving at an unprecedented rate.