Literature of Social Science
The world is getting better...
By the time I had collected Hans Rosling's "Factfulness" from Strömstads Bokhandel AB (Stromstad Bookstore), the owner (Lise-Lotte Birgersson) had really helped me to find this rich, informative and research-based book, which is truly a vital guide to thinking plainly about the world where we live, our old generations lived and future generations will also live. The subtitle of the book is "Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think". The book is meticulously researched and clearly written and the author as the title suggests obviously thinks that progress on extreme poverty is unstoppable because of economic growth and technological advances, in spite of many symbols that it is changing shape and that progress is slowing - as India and China's economic dynamism lift billions out of poverty, Nigeria and DRC (Danish Refugee Council) become the poster children for accelerating poverty amidst growth, and poverty in a predatory state.
The writer truly articulates the story of the secret silent miracle of human progress. The book has a strong power to change our entire perspective. It also deals with the misconceptions most of the people hold about the world we live in.
Rosling's book, Factfulness, published posthumously in collaboration with his son and daughter-in-law, sets out to prove to us that the world is getting better, and to try to explain why so many of us think the opposite. The writer's son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Ronnlund were responsible for the data analysis, inventive visual explanations, data stories, and simple presentation design. It was son and daughter-in-law's idea to measure ignorance systematically and they designed and programmed the beautiful charts.
Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker who died two years ago in 2017. He was the Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and was the co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system that presents detailed graphical view of the state of development in different regions. He held presentations around the world, including several TED (technology, entertainment, design) talks in which he promoted the use of data to explore development issues.
Rosling uses global facts as the basis for determining how - unless we rely on good data - we will continue to have an inaccurate view of the world. Many of us undoubtedly have assumed that the mass media incline to report too much negative news. A quality of the book is that it reminds us about the improvements of human conditions that have taken place in the last century. Rosling also tried to show that extreme poverty has decreased, and longevity increased in many countries, through medical advances, education, and technology. These achievements are heavily emphasised, but must also be related to current overpopulation and our future, given that people already dominate all ecosystems directly or indirectly.
In the book, Rosling recommends that the huge majority of human beings are wrong about the state of the world. He demonstrates that his test subjects think the world to be poorer, less healthy, and more dangerous than it is. Rosling recommends thinking about the world as divided into four levels based on income brackets. He suggests ten instincts that prevent us from seeing real progress in the world. These are listed as Gap, Negativity, Straight Line, Fear, Size, Generalisation, Destiny, Single, Blame, and Urgency.
Factfulness is moving, supportive and well-timed. It is a jaw-dropping rebuttal of many myths we've heard through the years about poverty, education, and world demographics. This book should be a required read for planet earth.
For this book, professor and researcher Hans Rosling teamed up with his son and daughter-in-law to jointly found the Gapminder Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to using simple, visually-appealing data to squash untruths about the world.