By Owen Jones (The Guardian)
Wed 5 Apr 2023 06.00 BST
If there is such a thing as an onward march of human progress, it has not just halted, but screeched into reverse. Last autumn, a little-discussed report issued by the United Nations noted that human development had declined in 90% of countries for two years in a row, a fall without precedent for more than three decades. The pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine played their role, but so too did “sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in political and social polarisation”.
You may well be familiar with chatter about “the decline of the west”: it has tended to be the preserve of the reactionary right, who blame, variously, moral decay, multiculturalism and a reassessment of European history for our downfall. But it is not minority rights, diversity or acknowledgment of western crimes to blame. The turnaround in our collective fortunes has been dramatic. But it is driven by an economic system that promised personal freedom but instead delivered insecurity on a mass scale, and which has has hurt us in every conceivable way, from our emotional and physical wellbeing to our material circumstances.
UN Report on human development