The new skällsordet is apparently ”nyoptimister”. We which, according to Roland Paulsen, claiming that everything gets better and is knäpptysta about growing inequality, environmental problems and mental illness. Paulsen mentions, among others, me, but is targeted mainly polemic against Hans Rosling (DN 20/1).
Or a caricature of him. Rosling's point was not that everything only gets better, but it is better if the debate and policies based on facts than on gut instinct. Then it is obvious that devote considerable space to the progress of humankind. Not that it is the only thing that happened in the world, but because it is the largest – and almost nobody knows about it.
documenting it regularly. 60% think that extreme poverty has doubled in 20 years. Not even every tenth person knew that the (more than) halved. Other issues show the same: the Majority of people believe that everything goes to pipsvängen in the era when the development has been fastest.
I know how important Rosling was to correct such errors. When I in the beginning of the 00's began to write about poverty and child mortality fell rapidly, I was the closest mocked in newspapers. It just could not sue. In the day I get more often the answer to stuff like that well is widely known. What changed was that Rosling and Gapminder swept in with common sense, good humor, and educational software and turned the debate.
Yes, we nyoptimister talk a lot about the progress, in order to fill these knowledge gaps. Paulsen thinks that it makes us selective. We are ignoring the apparently dark – the kind of thing that was documented in the summary in a report to the Swedish government's globalisation council 2007:
”Everything's not getting better. When poor countries modernised increases the industrial pollution of the environment and humans are fishing out the oceans and heat up the climate. A richer life also brings new lifestyle-related diseases and risks for mental illness.”
that kind of problem. I know. It was I who wrote the report.
We believe, however, that the freer, richer and more educated people have better tools to solve them. And that the recognition of past achievements stimulates them more than defeatism – which often leads to giving up or build walls against a dangerous world.
Right now established a picture of that Rosling did not take climate change seriously. I have a hard time to comprehend it. He neglected to take up the also in the lectures on other topics, and he pressed the government to we the first country to report on emissions of greenhouse gases on a quarterly basis.
Paulsen argues that Rosling describes the ”klimataktivister as domedagsprofeter which excites that something must be done right now”, which can only be read as that Rosling didn't want it. But in the section Paulsen refers to the type Rosling when it comes to climate, we need to ”move into action ... as soon as possible”.
Rosling also pointed out that the snittinkomsten in a bar, rushing in the height when Brad Pitt comes in, and that it is not so interesting.
Al Gore was not the opinions, but that he wanted to use Gapminders bubble to only show the worst possible scenario and hide the according to the IPCC most likely.
nor is it correct to Paulsens claim to Rosling ”consistently chose to tone down the national inequalities”. The impression, one can surely get even if the acquaintance with him confined to one TED talk where he juggles with the GDP-bubbles. But Rosling also pointed out that the snittinkomsten in a bar, rushing in the height when Brad Pitt comes in, and that it is not so interesting. It was why he often fragmentation of the bubbles to illustrate the differences in income and health within countries. Inequality he called ”one of the worst problems”.
the Paulsens strangest accusation is that we nyoptimister emphasizes the facts so much that we miss ”the potential”. Unlike us, he is certainly not happy that the infant mortality rate has halved since 1990. It should be even better. Good idea, that we have not thought of it!
In the section where Paulsen pretend to Rosling expresses ”a refusal to even imagine that things could have been different” with the infant mortality rate, type Rosling, however, that he is the first to wish that it was faster, but it requires the ”understanding of what works and what does not”.
the strategy is to whine that not everything would be even better, would give greater results than the method to measure, evaluate and do more of what works, but Paulsen would need to support it with any form of argument and not just a deformation of the opponent as a liknöjt freak.
Yes, there are areas Rosling and we have not devoted the same amount of time. The world is big. But it is a tired objection of the type he-should-have-written-a-different-book. Paulsen mentions that Rosling never talked about precarious jobs and lack of housing, and asks rhetorically: ”How do we solve problems like these?”. It is as if someone read yet another article by Paulsen on the precariat and complain that it does not have anything to say about the war in Yemen.
Hans Rosling identified widespread delusions of our time, the great questions and raised the level of knowledge in them in a way that was both educational and entertaining – for unveiled. Will he now be faulted for that he also tweaked the housing market? Something we may well do themselves.
Read more: Hans rosling's positive worldview is not true
Read more: Hans rosling's colleagues respond to the criticism