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.
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About the Author
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