Gregg Easterbrook, who admits from being from Buffalo, provides evidence (the Real Facts) to counteract the constant barrage of messages that America (and the world) is going down the tubes. In fact, people are living longer. More people are surviving diseases that used to be fatal. Food is plentiful. If people are starving, it’s because of logistics not food shortages. Equality world-wide is increasing as education and healthcare improve. Gregg Easterbrook also points out that our Economy is growing as unemployment shrinks. Technology improves with each generation and tends to be more safe to use.

Of course politicians love to claim the Past was better (it wasn’t) and today the world faces “carnage.” People tend to vote when they’re afraid. Yet most of the outlandish claims that American is going to Hell are false. Sure, the opioid epidemic is real. But conspiracies of “child actors” at the border, that the Wall will solve the immigration problem, and the Space Force will protect us gain traction because of technology. Facebook and Tweets and social media of all sorts create the illusion that these fantasies are facts. Many of our problems are self-created. If you’re looking for a book to counteract all the negativity and “Fake News” I highly recommend It’s Better Thank It Looks.GRADE: A
Preface: Optimism Goes Out of Style xi
PART I: Why the World Refuses to End
One: Why don’t we starve? 3
Two: Why, despite all our bad habits, do we keep living longer? 23
Three: Will nature collapse? 41
Four: Will the economy collapse? 64
Five: Why is violence in decline? 104
Six: Why does technology become safer instead of more dangerous? 140
Seven: Why don’t the dictators win? 164
PART II: The Arrow of History
Eight: How declinism became chic 197
Nine: The “impossible” challenge of climate change 226
Ten: The “impossible” challenge of inequality 245
Eleven: We’ll never run out of challenges 266
Twelve: And it will never be too late 282
Acknowledgements 287
Notes 289
Index 319


  1. Cap'n Bob

    Poppycock! We’re heading to Hell in a handcart and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it! We’re doomed, I tell you, DOOMED!!!

      1. george Post author

        Todd, I only gamble on the Stock Market. But if New York State gets their act together and makes legalized Sports Betting convenient, I might drop a few dollars on a Buffalo Bills game.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    But we ARE going to Hell! NAFTA, NATO, The G-7, Obamacare, the Pacific trade deal, China, Mexico, Canada, the “fake” press, The EU, our own Intelligence agencies, and of course Crooked Hillary, are only some on the Enemies List of Fearless Leader, who has never met a dictator or strongman he doesn’t love.

    Yes, a lot is good, but he is dragging us to the gutter around the world and at home, even trying to undercut renewal energy in favor of coal!

    As you yourself said last week, George, “We’re screwed.”

    So it is hard to be optimistic. And did I mention the Supreme Court?

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, the trends–especially the Economy with these stupid Trade Wars–are worrying. But, Easterbrook’s statistics about health and safety are persuasive.

  3. Michael Padgett

    With each new Trump atrocity my pessimism grows a bit more. One thing I’ll say for this con artist is that he’s more adept at appealing to ignorant, stupid people than any American politician I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, in this country he has plenty of material to work with.

    1. george Post author

      Michael, clearly Easterbrook is selling hope in IT’S BETTER THAN IT LOOKS. Things look dire on the political front.

  4. Rick Robinson


    What Jeff said.

    People may be living longer, but they are not necessarily healthier. Food may be plentiful, if you can afford it. Social media is a disease, not a wonder. George, you should know better than to buy this guy’s line.

  5. wolf

    Seems that most people here don’t really like Trump …

    I just found an interesting survey by the Pew institute:
    The question was:
    Do people like you have it better today than 50 years ago?
    And the results:
    About two thirds of Germans, Japanese,Canadians !!! and some other countries say we are better off – while more Americans, French and Italians say – no, 50 years ago life was better!
    For me that’s a really strange result!

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, the media in the U.S. focuses on tragedies and disasters. Once in a while, they’ll broadcast a “feel good” story, but mostly outrageous behavior and conflict attract eyeballs (and ratings). Trump is a master of manipulating the media.

  6. Jerry House

    We have survived worse than Trump. Well, I actually can’t think of a single example, but I’m sure we have.

    Haven’t we?

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, Nixon was bad. But we had a Congress that stood up to Nixon when Watergate hit. Today, we have losers like Trey Gowdy trying to short-circuit the Mueller investigation. Big difference.

      1. Rick Robinson

        Nixon was bad in many ways, immoral, but he was quite good at international relations, something our current POTUS is definitely not. Does it shock you if I say I’d take Nixon over Trump?

      2. Todd Mason

        Of course, we were saddled with Nixon in part because of Vietnam, and as much due to childish reaction/terror at perceptions of liberation movements. The Democrats kept dragging their feet on the former, going along to get along with their corporate supporter, and alienating their voter base. Sound somewhat familiar to another recent presidential election, only with many smaller wars and no draft?

      3. george Post author

        Todd, Nixon at least had some experience governing and some international relations experience. He made a lot of Bad Choices. Nixon’s paranoia fueled a lot of his actions.

      1. george Post author

        Rick, the Canadians are boycotting American products because of Trump’s trade policies. More countries will join them. Our Economy will take a Big Hit.

      2. Rick Robinson

        Yes, and this is all his own doing. You and I will pay more for a lot of things, our allies are estranged, while Mr. Bully Racist Bluffbut buddies up with N. Korea and Russia. It’s all working out just the way Putin hoped.

    2. Todd Mason

      Well, the combined efforts of Republicans and the Depression, the Gilded Age, and certainly the Civil War and the administration of Andrew Jackson count as About As Bad, At Least. And things have certainly been worse for most “minorities” of various sorts than now.

  7. Jeff Meyerson

    You’d have to go back to Harding or Grant to approach the level of corruption, and for sheer awfulness, perhaps only Pierce and Buchanan come close.

    1. Todd Mason

      Clintonian crimes were more important in successfully ensuring the neoliberals would be in near-total control of the Democratic Party. REINVENTING GOVERNMENT et al. certainly has managed to reinvent mostly the Democratic Party’s ability to become a minority party at most levels nationally.


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