Reasons to be Optimistic?

Let’s turn things around: Given peak oil, burbling trade skirmishes, debt immolation, a collapsing dollar, environmental degradation, a decline in U.S. standard of living, ballooning population, etc., …  what are some non-trivial reasons to be optimistic about how this moment in economic/human history turns out?

I’m serious. Even if you don’t believe it — and NY Magazine recently labeled me a “doom enthusiast”, so I admittedly skew bearish — try to make an optimist’s arguments better than they can.

Here are some examples:

  • As the developing world reaches first-world levels of per-capita wealth we will see more wealth creation – and profits — in the next two decades than in prior hundred years
  • The forced transition to a post-carbon economy blows a hole in models of environmental degradation, as well as creating new opportunities
  • Capital markets have shed more risk at a faster pace than at any time in recent history, setting them up to fund much more new growth than anyone expects
  • Ideas are more fecund than even, with a network-driven accelerated pace of innovation and invention, much of which is focused on today’s most important problems, like energy, the environment, etc.
  • Human health and lifespan continues to improve, making people more productive for longer periods than ever.
  • Global population will plateau over the next decade and then begin to decline world-wide.
  • Even if subprime nearly blew up the world, we have democratized credit, which means many people will be able to invest in and create products/services that they otherwise would not.