What was the best news of 2012?

Just before Xmas, I asked the readers at Core and at Troppo what they though the best bits of news of 2012 were.

Many, including myself but also David Walker, Steve Dunera, Tel and Jim Rose thought that last year was another in a long period of strong economic development in the poorest regions of the world, including in Africa, India, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. This was argued to be causally linked to improvements in the human condition (education, life expectancy). So in effect, last year again saw the slow rise of much of humanity out of poverty, ignorance, ill-health and other misery. The general rise of humanity out of poverty, violence, and ignorence is the kind of development that economists and philosophers have been hoping would happen for centuries, but we are currently living in the decades it is actually happening.

Jim Belshaw pointed out that institutions designed to improve justice in this world had again been slowly improving, presumably including the working of the international courts, but also the development of monitoring systems that keep tabs on the behaviour of the powerful in the conflict areas of the world. Jim thought this boded well for the continued reduction in conflict levels in the world.

Steve Dunera made the associated point that mobile phone connectivity has increased in much of the world and expressed the opinion, which I share, that this connectivity is turning into a vehicle for by-passing local monopolists of various plumages, hence again boding well for future developments in the economic and political sphere.

Tim Macknay pointed to the undoubted progress in the political situation in Burma as the highlight of 2012.

And then of course positive technological developments could be celebrated such as the reduction in costs of solar panels  and improvements in self-driving cars.

If I cast the net wider and include things I found personally uplifting, I would say last year was also a good year for popular art, including movies and music.

6 thoughts on “What was the best news of 2012?

  1. Curious to know why you think it was a good music for music/film? I’d have thought the opposite, especially for films. I didn’t think 2012 was a bright year for film, at least in the mainstream sense. I thought Drive was the best film of ’12, whilst the two biggest anti-climaxes were the latest instalments of the Batman and Bond franchises.

  2. Paul,

    I love escapist movies and thought the batman and bond franchise enstallments were great. Also loved the Hobbit. And the Game of Thrones series is pretty good too. Yes, I know, many people find such things shallow, but I judge movies on their escapism value and not how deeply they make me think (thinking is the entertainment for the rest of the day).

    As to music, Adele, Mars, and others made it another good year for me. With the new Bond you get two for the price of one in that department!

    The great advantage of having mainstream shallow tastes in music and movies is that you are seldom disappointed!

    • Interesting take on escapism value and what determines a good film. And I can’t help but agree with Adele; hopefully she doesn’t sell out as some promising acts of her ilk have recently (see Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj).

  3. The Best news was in Europe and the UK.

    We got confirmation about what Adam Posen said about Japan in the 90s. Fiscal policy is very potent, more so when interest rates are zero bound. We found out again classical economics is a complete crock.

    We got mea culpas both from the IMF on fiscal policy and from the OECD on labour market reform ( it works to the benefit in good times but not in bad times.)

  4. ” I would say last year was also a good year for popular art, including movies and music”

    I think computer games have outsold movies for a few years now, so perhaps that should really be a benchmark for popular art now rather than just movies and music, especially if you considered time played, watched or listened to. A quick search through the most sold games ever shows that Angry Birds has reached 1 billion downloads, so it is up there with Psy.

  5. To my mind the best news of 2012 was Barack Obama’s reelection.

    Not in a flag-waving partisan way, but because it could well put the brakes on the increasing extremism of right-wing politics in the western world and maybe return some sane conservative ideas to the public sphere.

    I think that in itself is significant to the progress mentioned in the posts above.

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