The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel the Same

Topics: The Progress Paradox, Gregg Easterbrook, Better Pages: 3 (1214 words) Published: December 2, 2012
I’m pretty sure all of us are familiar with the cliché, “money can’t buy happiness.” In Gregg Easterbrook book The Progress Paradox he tries to understand why a small variances of this cliché is so. The paradox that underlies Easterbrook’s venture is that through out the last fifty years, things have improved in the United States and Europe, by all objective standards. All though during same time, surveys of happiness and satisfaction have not changed since the fifties. Easterbrook’s main question through out the book asking has the objective measures of the well being of man kind increased while overall satisfaction of people and happiness have remained constant? In the three beginning chapters of this book Easterbrook spends a lot of time looking at surveys depicting the various objective measures that show a pretty much steady increase of progress. I found these chapters entertaining to read because it brings to light a huge range of facts and statistics that add support to his idea that things are constantly improving. Easterbrook goes on about how the crime rate is falling, the state of the environment is improving, we are gaining intelligence, equality is increasing and economic situations have improved. Crime, both violent and property have been in decline for 20 years. Current crime rates are probably the lowest in the history of the country. The environment has been improving in every area except green house gases. We have the cleanest air since the beginning of the industrial revolution and the cleanest water since Man was a hunter and gatherer. n the statistics discussed, Easterbrook references a 1996 poll that resulted in 52% of the respondents saying the United States was worse now than when their parents were growing up and 60% said they expected their children to live in an even worse country. Only 15% of the respondents believed that overall national conditions were improving (Easterbrook, 2004). In 1997, 66% of Americans reported that they...
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