There is a lot of doom and gloom these days. Opinion polls tend to show that most people think the world is falling apart. In our class we'll talk a lot about poverty, inequality and the plight of the poorest of the world's poor. Much of this will be depressing. It's important therefore to be mindful of the major progress that has been made in the recent past.
Here is a short piece from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times highlighting some of the progress the world has made in terms of reducing poverty, disease and illiteracy. Be sure to check out the link to the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals and also check out the progress that was made on the last set of goals (the Millennium Development Goals).