Social Question

nyc_air's avatar

Do you think that the world is becoming a better place?

Asked by nyc_air (284points) May 10th, 2010

Due to the rapid increase in globalization in the past few decades, are people slowly becoming more tolerant to other peoples cultures? Are there more people wanting to make the world a better place than there were lets say 50 years ago? Or we haven’t changed at all.

If you think its getting better or worse what is you reason?

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54 Answers

Draconess25's avatar

There are more people trying to fix it, but the guys with the big bucks have all the say. No. it’s not getting better. Not until people stop being so greedy & ignorant, & polluitng themselves & our only home.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think there are a lot of people trying to make it a better place, but I don’t think we’ve gotten into the upswing yet. There are still a lot of things pulling us down that need to be taken care of so that the good things outweigh the bad.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I think so because Bush stopped ruling.

Berserker's avatar

Couldn’t say. Advancing technology and discovery of new knowledge always helps to build a better place, it’s been done before, but it’s a double edged sword, since it also helps skull fuckery just as much. Point in case, Einstein ’‘created’ the a bomb.

Draconess25's avatar

@Symbeline “Skull fuckery”? I’m stealing that term from you!

Berserker's avatar

@Draconess25 I stole it from Marilyn Manson.

nyc_air's avatar

@Symbeline wasn’t it Enrico Fermi who created the atomic bomb, anyways Einstein did help in creating a way to go to the moon and understanding our universe better, so ur right it is a double sword. There are scientist out there making better eco friend energy substitutes and there are scientist that are making evil vampire robot zombies bent on destroying humanity.

Berserker's avatar

Well I’m not too good with scientific history, but I think that Einstein came up with the proper atomic components or whatever which were later fashioned into a weapon. It wasn’t his intention, but without him that may never have existed.
I’ll stand corrected though, but even if the example is faulty, you get the double edged sword thing.

Zombie robots, wat?

nyc_air's avatar

@Symbeline lol its a joke this guy on youtube makes, never mind my silliness

vampire robot zombies

Blackberry's avatar

I would say so, and my reasoning is the events of the past. Less slavery, less discrimination, less genocide, less ignorance etc. Of course all of these things just seem to have lessened, I do not know how widespread it is around the whole world.

bea2345's avatar

No, the world is not a better place, not when six million children – count ‘em, 6,000,000 – die every year from starvation before their fifth birthday.

Qingu's avatar

150 years ago, slavery was legal.

100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote.

50 years ago, racism and anti-Semitism were openly tolerated and considered normal.

10 years ago, homophobia was considered normal.

To say nothing of the advancements in medicine, life expectancy, literacy, and fighting hunger.

Hell yes the world is becoming a better place. We just have a tendency to romanticize the past.

DominicX's avatar

In many ways, yes. As people have mentioned, the advancements in medicine and civil rights cannot be undervalued. Those are extremely important and constantly improving for the better.

On the other hand, though, we have developed weapons that can destroy civilizations and life is getting more complicated and stressful overall and the environment is more damaged than it’s ever been before.

So yes and no. I think we have means of fixing many of the problems or preventing them from getting any worse. Whether we actually do that is another story.

The_Idler's avatar

Well the British made slavery illegal in 1772, made the slave trade illegal in 1807, and policed the world in attempts to eliminate all slavery from the 1833 Empire-wide laws. Probably a high point in the history of human (moral) development.

Since the end of colonialism and the British Empire, and the implementation of monetarism and incentivization and “anti-paternalism”/economic liberalism* in Western societies, I would say we, as a global society, are a lot worse off morally.
Compared to the later days of the Empire.
*economic liberalism: letting corporations do whatever they want… awesome.

Sure, the USA was still in the Dark Ages WRT human rights, and some European countries were incredibly inhumane in the management of their colonies, but others (the British) genuinely wanted to develop the colonies into better, wealthier places. We were even beginning (just about) to learn about and respect the cultures of the locals.

the end of Empire was often justified by saying it is “just wrong”. What was done in the name of Empire was very often wrong, but that doesn’t mean the Empire was necessarily always going to be a bad thing.
The United Kingdom at the time was the most socially progressive nation on Earth, and the labour laws eventually made it more far more a worker’s paradise than the Soviet Union. These ideals and rights and morals were beginning to, and would inevitably have eventually, spread to the Empire. That didn’t happen.

The end of the European empires was engineered by a US-biased UN, which wanted all restrictions on corporate practice around the world to be removed, so the exploitation of the wealth, labours and resources of the colonies could be undertaken, unimpeded, by US business interests.

This didn’t just mean no tariffs to be paid to the British, but it meant no (effective) laws to obey, no standards of safety, no guarantee of workers rights, no forced contributions to local development, etc.

Look at the post-colonial (American) methods of wealth extraction from the ex-colonies. There is no intent to develop or educate or help the local population, or build sustainable industries.
There is no restraining and guiding hand of elected and morally-motivated government.
There are only trans-national corporations, corrupt war-lords, and filthy profiteering.

The_Idler's avatar

Though this has as much to with the rise of the Corporation, as the end of Empire.

Independence would have been great, if we had more effectively limited the practices of corporations, but the Americans would have never done that.
It’s The American Way, and everything else is communist or whatever.

ducky_dnl's avatar

Do I think the world is becoming a better place? Nope! What is better about people killing people on impulse, instead on thinking about their actions? Or people leaving their kids because they just weren’t “ready?” Or maybe even seeing the hardworking people go nowhere in life, because other people take their money because they feel “entitled” to it? If anything..this world is getting worse!

Qingu's avatar

@The_Idler, would you rather live in the British Empire circa 1800 or in modern day America? Be honest.

Double points if you answer the question from the reference frame of a woman.

The_Idler's avatar

1800 isn’t the later days of the British Empire.

Also, I didn’t say anywhere that I would rather live in a moral and just world.

Giving people what they want, instead of what’s good for them (the trend away from paternalism) has resulted in decadence and moral decay.

Draconess25's avatar

@Qingu 1800’s, ‘cause I like the clothes. I never follow the rules now, so why would I back then?

The_Idler's avatar

also @Qingu my point is that we’d be better off now, morally, globally, if we hadn’t moved away from government-regulated colonialism and towards corporate-unregulated colonialism.

Simply put, the modern systems of Western exploitation of the wealth and labours of the world are far more immoral and socially unsustainable, compared to the days of Empire. The corporations answer to no one, but their God of Profit.

Oh, and by the way, touring the world by train, plane and art-deco steamer has so much more class than modern tourism.

Also, colonial architecture.

Being the governor of Singapore in the late 19th century would probably have been pretty awesome. Great weather, lots to do and see, and that certain camaraderie of being a member of the greatest, most powerful nation on Earth, by far.

Like being a big-shot international businessman in the USA now, except that you probably wouldn’t be going straight to Hell.

xxii's avatar

@Draconess25 – The fact that “not following the rules” is a viable option these days is testament to the fact that the world is getting better.

TogoldorMandar's avatar

We still have wars somehow. And I kinda get the feeling that not one country is reaching for peace before there own well being. Rich country’s use poor country’s like battery leaving more chaos then before (example Iraq,) sucking there oil. I still believe that there will be a day were no conflict is. But i think by that time we are already gone.

Draconess25's avatar

@xxii No, I mean I have a tendency to break the law.

xxii's avatar

@Draconess25 – My previous post still applies.

Draconess25's avatar

@xxii Well, if law-breaking is allowed, that’s not a better place. And it isn’t allowed. I just don’t get caught.

xxii's avatar

@Draconess25 – Law-breaking wasn’t allowed in the 1800s either. My point is: the view that the 1800s were a better time to live than 2010 is rather closed-minded. 2010 isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than the way the world was 200 years ago. I don’t know how you break the law, but I’m guessing the consequences of doing the same thing two centuries ago would have been more severe (criminal or otherwise).

Draconess25's avatar

@xxii Oh, I don’t think the world was better. I don’t think it’s changed much at all, really. I just like the clothes.

If you give a barbarian a laptop, he’s still a barbarian. With a laptop.

xxii's avatar

@Draconess25 – Well… if you give a barbarian a laptop, more money, more knowledge… he might be able to squish those things together and produce something more satisfactory than a regular barbarian might produce.

Draconess25's avatar

@xxii Then it will be a smart barbarian with cash & a laptop.

xxii's avatar

@Draconess25 – And if you put this barbarian in charge of organising a few hundred people in a community, he’d probably do a better job than a barbarian with a club and a loincloth.

Draconess25's avatar

@xxii He may still have those. I never took away his club & loincloth! XD

Pandora's avatar

Yes and no. For every few steps forward something else seems to suffer.
Yes womens rights was a plus and rights for miniorities but marriages have become a joke. Children are growing up in dysfunctional homes.
People are less satisfied with what they have and, want what they don’t need.
A man use to take pride in taking care of his responsibilites, now they live at home with mom and dad till they are 35 playing video games and getting random people pregnant.
Children are growning up not knowing how to handle fustrations and are going to schools shooting up random people to show discust instead of having some sort of protest.
I don’t think things are better by much. Only real improvement over the world is medical.
Women are still being violated and treated less than an animal in some countries around the world.
People still feel the need to kill each other to quiet their ideas.
People still kill for land, oil, money and position.
Children are equally abused by monsterous people.
The weak are still trampled on.
We have made small impovements. But in the larger picture, those things are the size of a pixel on a mural. You need to whip out the magnifiing glass to find the difference.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Yes, I think we are far more morally advanced today than ever before. I do not wish to repeat myself, so see my answer here for a few examples of why.

nyc_air's avatar

i might be one person but i do little things to make the world a better place. I asked this because I am going to start volunteering at our community court to talk with kids that come from violent backgrounds and be able to represent them in court during child abuse charges. I wanted some ideas to give them that the world is awesome and that they should look at the brighter side of things.

@everyone wow you guys, i really like the stuff you came up with, and honestly it seems like people see the cup half empty or half full.

@Pandora yeah there are a lot of terrible things like that and we are lucky to live in the U.S where a lot of the social cruelty is regulated not much but better in other nations. Do remember that our many advances in medicine came from money hungry pharmaceutical companies.

@The_Idler thanks for the history, i really didn’t know about the social advances the United Kingdom was making after colonialism. have you read “Into the Darkness” And yeah corporations do need some more regulations, like the Goldman Sachs fraud that just surfaced recently, but a lot of right wing Americans think that it’s communism. And unfortuantly corporations and industrialization was the main reason for humans rapid advancement in technology, they pay for a lot of the arts and sciences that are happening right now.

lol @Draconess25 and @xxii you guys are too funny

ZEPHYRA's avatar

It never was, it is certainly not and sure as hell never ever will be. That is the nature of it all.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ZEPHYRA “Better” is a relative term. If it is not better, then it must be worse than the past. If the past was worse, then it is better now. You cannot say it was never, and currently is not “better”, unless of course its been mediocre all along.

WolfFang's avatar

@ZEPHYRA law of entropy…(?)
and @Pandora I think you hit it right on, so many problems today, It’s hard to say things are “getting better” but I think most of the situations are the same as in past times, just with todays many advancements, the scale of it them is much larger than before.

Kraigmo's avatar

“better”, in the real universe, doesn’t exist.

But I know what you mean, and in that sense, yes the world slowly becoming a better place. Its just a long process for the general masses who control the planet by proxy, and their leaders, to finally accept the truths already realized by so-called crackpots.

Silly things like pollution control, scientific progress, human rights, scientific welfare planning, libertarian reform of vice laws, universal health care access… things like that. The masses eventually catch on to the truths. A thousand steps forward and 950 steps back.

Disc2021's avatar

I wasn’t alive 50 years ago, so I’m not really at liberty to make such an assessment.

I think it all balances out. It’s hard to make those people happy while keeping these people happy – we all have opposing viewpoints, different pursuits and different ways of life. In mending some ties, we break others. In fixing some problems, we create more. Will we eventually all just reach some big, universal greater-good? Who knows?...

The_Idler's avatar

150 years ago, slavery was legal. [Where?]

100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. [Where?]

50 years ago, racism and anti-Semitism were openly tolerated and considered normal. [Where?]

10 years ago, homophobia was considered normal. [Where?]

To say nothing of the advancements in medicine, life expectancy, literacy, and fighting hunger. [Where?]

Hell yes the world [United States] is becoming a better place. We just have a tendency to romanticize the past.

Qingu's avatar

@The_Idler, the rest of the world has followed a similar trend at varying rates and with some exceptions.

The_Idler's avatar

I would say that the USA, Europe, Japan, the West in general, have become better places to live, China perhaps and India.

Most of Africa, South America, Russia and most of the ex-soviet countries, the middle east, central America, I would say had high-points somewhere in the 20th century.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@The_Idler Africa, Russia and most of the ex-soviet countries, and the middle east are still better off than they were 500 years ago. South America is possibly the only place in the world that has declined for most of the past 500 years.

nore345's avatar

if the world isn’t getting better do something about it!

nore345's avatar

@nyc_air lol robot zombies!

The_Idler's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Is that how you’d console the poor, starving and poverty-stricken of those places?
“Don’t cry about it buddy, at least you’re better off than the people living here 500 years ago!”

If we had a hypothetical company’s share price, which over the past 6 months has steadily declined, would you argue that the share value is “improving”, because the price is higher than five years ago?

Any previous progress and improvements are inconsequential, because we live in a different world now, and the trend, over – and beyond – the transition between these two worlds, has been, as I illustrated above, negative.

It is a slippery slope to climb, and you can’t dismiss concerns that we are falling by indicating that we have come so far already… that just means there is further to fall.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@The_Idler No, consolation and counselling have little to do with pointing out trends.

Your company’s share price would be described as having steadily risen, but currently suffering a slump.

What I was trying to point out with my comment is that you have chosen a time span arbitrarily, and you cannot make a blanket generalisation saying “country x,y and z are declining.” The original question asks “do you think the world is becoming a better place,” and my answer is yes. Even though some countries are suffering right now, in time things will improve because humanity in general has been on an upward trend for the best part of 50,000 years.

The_Idler's avatar

“Even though some countries are suffering right now, in time things will improve because humanity in general has been on an upward trend for the best part of 50,000 years.”

Explain your logic. I’m interested.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

As I have said before, on a different thread, there are many things that are unacceptable today that were common practice in the past. Many of the examples I used are only applicable in the western world, but such concepts spread with education, and the altruism of aid agencies and the like will slowly impact people in less developed countries. I think it is a wonderful thing that people can worry about inane, ridiculous things such as whether their hair style is in fashion, because it indicates a huge amount of disposable income and time that has rarely been accessible in the past except to a select few.

It is a part of the human psyche to be somewhat pessimistic about the state of the world, because without seeing errors we cannot seek to correct them. However I think this is a distorted view of the world, and it can do us good to see how far we’ve come.

The_Idler's avatar

By, “Explain your logic,” I meant, “Explain how you came to the conclusion that a previous general upward trend makes further progress in a similar direction inevitable, despite recent fundamental changes to the nature of our global civilization, which have been followed by dramatic disintegrations of whole societies.”

Even if further progress is inevitable, I wouldn’t describe the world today as “becoming a better place”. It’s like climbing up a cliff, then falling, and on the way down consoling yourself, because you’re still higher than you were 50,000 years ago…

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Humans have always displayed an amazing ability to overcome impossible odds. Whatever difficulties you see with the state of the world, we are capable of rectifying them. I am confident that human civilisation will last until the Sun becomes a red giant, or some idiot starts a nuclear war.

EverRose11's avatar

I believe that are more people aware and wanting to get involved and make changes so the world could be a better place.However I do not believe it is getting better.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Yes and no:

Commerce and technology? A better place.

Unchecked runaway government? Not a better place.

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