For Reasons I Have Never Understood, People Like To Hear That the World Is Going To Hell

Deirdre N. McCloskey? Eduardo Porter? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Their are always powerful reasons to be pessimistic. News headlines about brutal warfare, callous crime, and environmental degradation predominate on a continuous electronic scroll of doom.

Yet, there are also reasons to be optimistic. The global rate of extreme poverty has declined and longevity has increased. Medical advances occur every day. A prominent Professor of Economics remarked that many people inexplicably prefer to “hear that the world is going to hell”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 2014 economist Deirdre N. McCloskey of the University of Illinois at Chicago published a book review in “Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics” containing the following passage. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]2014 Autumn, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, Volume 7, Issue 2, Article: Measured, unmeasured, mismeasured, and unjustified pessimism: A review essay of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in … Continue reading

During the pretty good history of 1800 to the present the economic pessimists on the left have nonetheless been subject to nightmares of terrible, terrible failures.

Admittedly, such pessimism sells. For reasons I have never understood, people like to hear that the world is going to hell, and become huffy and scornful when some idiotic optimist intrudes on their pleasure. Yet pessimism has consistently been a poor guide to the modern economic world. We are gigantically richer in body and spirit than we were two centuries ago.

Below are two more citations and a conclusion.

Continue reading For Reasons I Have Never Understood, People Like To Hear That the World Is Going To Hell

References

References
1 2014 Autumn, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, Volume 7, Issue 2, Article: Measured, unmeasured, mismeasured, and unjustified pessimism: A review essay of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the twenty-first century by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey (University of Illinois at Chicago), Start Page 73, Quote Page 81, Supported by Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Accessed ejpe.org on January 2, 2021; also available via ProQuest) link