Why you should care
From kind corporations to nations without armies, the world might be in better shape than you give it credit for.
Feeling gloomy? Here’s an excellent list of reasons to turn that frown upside-down.
The American Dream and its promise of social mobility have lost its shine with the recession. Yet Americans’ odds of becoming wealthy are better than most people think. In fact, by the time you turn 60 in the U.S., there’s a 21-percent chance you’ll have enjoyed wealth — at least for a little while — and the number of people joining the ranks of the “top 2 percent” has doubled since 1979. So don’t give up on that dream house just yet. Read the story here.
The word “overpopulation” is often accompanied by apocalyptic projections of food shortages, power outages and water wars. While none of these future scenarios can be completely ruled out, overpopulation is unlikely to cause any of them. It turns out fertility rates are dropping in most continents so the world’s population growth rate is actually slowing down. It’s now half of what it was 40 years ago, which means the Earth should be getting less crowded in the next century. Read the story here.
Big businesses are often seen as the bad guys who would do anything and trample over anyone for profit. But a new type of corporation is ready to smash this stereotype. They’re called “benefit corporations” — B Corp for short — and they’re determined to bring social values, not only into their marketing materials but into their business plans as well. Over 20 states already allow companies to register as benefit corporations and show the world that nice guys can finish first. Read the story here.
We live in a scary world and that’s why every country needs to have a military. Or does it? Actually, there are more than 20 nations in the world that survive without a single soldier on their payroll. They include wealthy European states like Andorra and Liechtenstein, Central American nations like Costa Rica or tiny islands like Samoa, Nauru and Kiribati. Armies might be useful but judging by this list, they’re not always a necessity. Read the story here.
Most Americans have a perception of Washington, D.C., as a gridlocked and dysfunctional land where nothing ever gets done. Such claims might not be unfounded, but despite the partisan bickering and administrative slowness, the government and Congress sometimes do get stuff done. This year they are preparing a set of laws and regulations that could actually have a real impact on our daily lives from how we surf the Net to how much we pay for energy. Read the story here.