The Glass Half-Empty: Debunking the Myth of Progress in the Twenty-First Century

The Glass Half-Empty: Debunking the Myth of Progress in the Twenty-First Century

by Rodrigo Aguilera


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Is the world really getting so much better? Rodrigo Aguilera argues that, despite what some say about "progress" in the twenty-first century, we are still falling far short of where we could be.

Despite the doom and gloom of financial crises, global terrorism, climate collapse, and the rise of the far-right, a number of leading intellectuals (Steven Pinker, Hans Rosling, Johan Norberg, and Matt Ridley, among others) have been arguing in recent years that the world is getting better and better. But this "progress narrative" is little more than a very conservative defence of the capitalist status quo.

At a time when liberal democracy appears incapable of stemming the tide of the far-right populism, and when laissez-faire capitalism is ill-equipped to deal with socio-economic problems like climate change, inequality, and the future of work, the real advocates of progress are those willing to challenge these established paradigms.

The Glass Half-Empty argues that, without criticising the systems of capitalism, the changes needed to make a better world will always fall short of our expectations. The "progress narrative" needs to be challenged before we stumble into a potentially catastrophic future, despite having the means to build a truly better world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912248803
Publisher: Watkins Media
Publication date: 03/10/2020
Pages: 377
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 7.76(h) x 1.11(d)

About the Author

Rodrigo Aguilera is a Mexican-born, London-based economist who has worked for Chatham House and the Economist Intelligence Unit. His writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, where had a regular column, and on blog of the London School of Economics.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A New Secular Religion 1

Part I Optimism and Its Discontents 13

Chapter 1 Mad World 15

Chapter 2 Getting Better 30

Chapter 3 Twenty-First Century Breakdown 52

Part II Progress and the Crisis of Liberalism 95

Chapter 4 Masters of Puppets 97

Chapter 5 The Big Money 127

Chapter 6 And Justice for All 160

Part III The End of the End of History 197

Chapter 7 The Evil That Men Do 199

Chapter 8 Renegades of Thought 230

Chapter 9 Built for the Future 259

Epilogue: Winds of Change 300

A Note on Data Sources 317

Notes 319

Acknowledgements 368

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