Stop The World — I Want To Get Off was a play that employed a circus as a backdrop when it debuted in London in 1961, before moving on to Broadway in 1962 and becoming a film in 1966.  I saw the movie years ago, so don’t quiz me on the details.

But the underlying theme is that while people encounter difficult problems throughout life, many don’t realize how good they had it until very late in life. In recent months, watching the nightly news has become an even more depressing experience than it usually is.

That in itself is a significant statement. The news from Africa, the Middle East and the Texas-Mexico border varies from tragic to horrific.

It’s enough to make us forget about some of the world’s achievements of the last three decades. Paramount among them is that billions of people have been lifted—or have lifted themselves—out of acute poverty. Treatments for once-fatal diseases are beginning to emerge after an extended period of limited advances in medical and pharmaceutical research.

Still, the utopian vision of a new world that pervaded our thinking 15 years ago at the turn of the last century certainly hasn’t materialized. If one needs any further evidence, just talk to a group of sober millennials who have come of age since 2000.

How does the oblivious behavior of the financial markets square with the spread of disease and anarchy portrayed continuously on the nightly news and other vehicles that could be named “60 Depressing Minutes”? Understandably, it may be hard for most Americans watching Washington, D.C., to realize that outsiders view their country as an island of political stability.

There is a reason why most Americans believe the U.S. economy is still in a recession. Most have seen declining real wages for the last 15 years and many who are returning to work after losing their jobs in the 2008–2009 recession are earning less than before.
But the U.S. is also resolving one of

its most intractable problems and becoming energy independent. The guess here is that in the next decade new technologies will enhance old sources of energy like natural gas and electricity to give oil a run for its money. A lot of other positive trends are percolating beneath the headlines.

Furthermore, the news from abroad is approaching the point where one has to ask how much worse can it get? Maybe one shouldn’t ask that question.

Evan Simonoff, Editor-in-Chief
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