Disheartening Prevalence

November 2, 2011

Life ain’t so pretty no more.
One Canadian’s view of nowadays:

Future generations could find themselves dealing with serious catastrophes: the highly disruptive consequences of climate change; disruptions in the food chain due to ecological destruction; nuclear war (still a serious risk, even if it has faded from the public consciousness); massively destructive accidents (like the gray goo scenario); and so on.

But if you are like me and many other Canadians, you are living a life that future generations may greatly envy.
In fact, they may look back at this as a golden age.

Yes, indeed, if there’s still anyone out there.

(Illustration found here).

If one ponders the current global situation, there’s not much out there to encourage optimism or any bright-learning thought — economics to the environment, bad news on the door step.
Getting a job is a downer — from a CBS News poll last week:

Four in 10 Americans who are unemployed are not confident they will find another job, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.
And three in 10 expect the income and benefits from their next job to be lower than what they received in their last job.
CBS News and The New York Times interviewed a random sample of 445 adults who are out of work and looking for a job, many of whom are struggling to stay optimistic.

As many as 54 percent of unemployed Americans say their household’s financial situation is at least fairly bad, and more than nine of 10 have made some cutbacks to their spending in the past year.
Since becoming unemployed, most Americans who are out of work have borrowed money from friends or relatives (56 percent), and most have withdrawn money out of savings (53 percent).
About a third has pursued job re-training or educational opportunities (36 percent) and one in five has received food from either a non-profit organization or a religious institution.

Amid high unemployment and a stagnant economy, there is some concern for the next generation of Americans.
Forty-six percent of both the unemployed and Americans overall say the future will be worse for the next generation of Americans.

Not a good-looking tomorrow.
Especially amongst white folks, a situation termed the “optimism gap:” In 1979, whites constituted more than 80 percent of the earners whose income fell between the 30th and 70th percentiles, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. By 2010, whites had fallen below 68 percent of that middle-income group. Over the same period, the black share grew from 10 percent to 12 percent; the Latino share nearly tripled, from 5.4 percent to 14.4 percent.
No wonder the old-white-man’s party, the GOP, is so freakin’ scared.

And maybe, at least for US peoples and those in the so-called ‘civilized world,’ might have had it so good for so long.
The sense the party’s over would make one sad.
Recently, the BBC conducted a poll in 25 countries and 25,000 people found that we rich are more pessimistic than those in the developing world — money gone, money hopefully coming.

Japan, France and Britain emerged as particularly gloomy.
The percentage expecting good times in all three countries was in single figures.
More than half expected bad times.
The picture across the rich world was one of pessimists outnumbering the optimists, though by smaller margins.
The one exception to this pattern was Germany, where 36 npercent expected good or mostly good times, well ahead of those who were downbeat.
Even there, the optimists were outnumbered by those expecting a mix of good and bad times ahead.
In the developing world, optimists outnumbered pessimists in nearly every country surveyed.
In Nigeria more than seventy per cent expected good times.
The results were strongly upbeat in Kenya and Egypt as well.
There was one exception, Pakistan, where pessimists were slightly more numerous.
In Russia, Chile and Ecuador, the optimists were only just ahead.
The difference in attitudes does broadly reflect recent economic performance: strong growth in many emerging economies, sluggishness in the rich world.

Occupy hope, maybe.

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