We're living the dream; we just don't realize it

  1. Were you aware that the violent crime rate has dropped from 51 to 15 crimes per thousand people or that while the world's population has doubled over the past 50 years, the percentage living in poverty has declined by 50% over that period?
    Find out more how were living the dream. Karen

    Stephen johnson
    Sat November 24, 2012

    We're living the dream; we just don't realize it

    We've finally emerged from the season in which Americans were asked by the pollsters and politicians: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" But sometimes it's important to contemplate the question of progress from a longer view: How are we doing on the scale of a generation?

    To answer that question, take this brief quiz.

    Over the past two decades, what have the U.S. trends been for the following important measures of social health: high school dropout rates, college enrollment, juvenile crime, drunken driving, traffic deaths, infant mortality, life expectancy, per capita gasoline consumption, workplace injuries, air pollution, divorce, male-female wage equality, charitable giving, voter turnout, per capita GDP and teen pregnancy?

    The answer for all of them is the same: The trend is positive. Almost all those varied metrics of social wellness have improved by more than 20% over the past two decades. And that's not counting the myriad small wonders of modern medicine that have improved our quality of life as well as our longevity: the anti-depressants and insulin pumps and quadruple bypasses.....
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Nov 27, '12
  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   TopazLover
    While the article is lollipops and glitter the reality is that we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Two thirds of this rise since 1985 is due to drug use. 1/2 of the prisoners are there for non-violent offenses. in 2005 it cost $23,876 to keep a prisoner for a year. Additionally, the cost of drug treatment in jails is approx. $30,000. Outside of incarceration there are good programs that cost less then $10,000.

    The degree of wellness may look better. I know the jail system used to be the largest provider of mental health services. Do we count our incarcerated citizens? If not, then the figures are not too accurate. Someday these prisioners will be released. They will become part of the population again. If we do not change our thinking and actions about drug use we will continue to pay huge amounts of money to house people who are not violent. We will pay 3 times the cost of treatment just to have it done in jail.

    While the author may be riding a unicorn to work my job takes me to the heart of the city where I see the effects of incarceration of non-violent offenders. It does not work. Once the person has a prison record most employers shy away. We do our society no service by long term incarceration of 754 out of every 100,000 population (2009 figure).
  4. by   azhiker96
    The article was a good read and a refreshing change from the usual doom and gloom that dominates the news. The author does cover the fact that not everything is roses.
    Of course, not all the arrows point in a positive direction, particularly after the past few years. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased over the past decade, after a long period of decline. Wealth inequality has returned to levels last seen in the roaring '20s.
    Today, the U.S. unemployment rate is still just under 8%, higher than its average over the past two decades. Household debt soared over the past 20 years, though it has dipped slightly thanks to the credit crunch of the last few years. And while the story of water and air pollution over that period is a triumphant one, the long-term trends for global warming remain bleak.
    The article also addresses reasons why there is more attention given to bad news than good. Thanks for posting it NRSKarenRN. We shouldn't always focus on the negative. A balanced approach to news is refreshing.