Your Monthly Good News, January 2015

There’s a problem with your everyday media: It is fed and nurtured by bad news, by misery, wars, crises, catastrophes. To make matters worse, journalists seem to think that their only task is to be critical about pretty much everything, leading to a depiction of politics and everyday life as disgraceful and appalling. Therefore most people believe that everything goes down the drain.
But hidden in the latter parts of magazines and newspapers, tucked away in nameless afternoon TV shows, you sometimes find news noone prepares you for: There’s more democracies now than there have ever been, you learn. Extreme poverty fell by 500 million people in the last 30 years. These are the rare occasions when good news gets so big that not even your everyday media can keep quiet about it. In our column Your Monthly Good News, we provide you with good news from the corner of the media machine, news that might give you a reason to be as optimistic as we are about the state and future of the world.
This is only the news we have noticed. If you come across something, a report, a short note, whatever, please just send us the link via and we’ll include it in our next collection.
Sorry for being so late this month.

Das Ende vom Ende des Abendlandes

Angela Merkel: Neujahrsansprache, 1. Januar 2015
– Immerhin, so weit ist es mittlerweile gekommen: Die deutsche Kanzlerin erklärt sich in einer so wichtigen Stellungnahme wie ihrer Neujahrsansprache solidarisch mit Flüchtlingen. Und warnt vor Pegida & Co. Was daran eine gute Neuigkeit ist? Angela Merkel kennt die Stimmungslage der Deutschen so gut wie kaum jemand anders – nicht zuletzt, weil sie, wie der Spiegel vor Kurzem zu berichten wusste, die Bevölkerung über von der Regierung in Auftrag gegebene Meinungsforschung intensiv beobachtet. Auch hier also eine Bestätigung unserer alten These: Am rechten Rand scheint es immer weniger Fische zu geben.
 – Die Anti-Pegida-Demos ziehen mehr Menschen an als die Originale.
Fabian Reinbold: Zerwürfnis in Dresden: Pegida schafft sich ab, Spiegel Online, 29. Januar 2015
– Das Ende vom Ende. Nach Deutschland und dem Abendland schafft sich nun auch noch Pegida ab.

Your Monthly Good News, January 2015

Paul Krugman: The Obama Recovery, The New York Times, 28 December 2014
– American growth is finally picking up, because, according to Krugman, Americans stopped hitting themselves with a baseball bat.
Hans Rosling: Increasing Lifespan, Twitter, 1 January 2015
– “IHME map shows increase in lifespan since 1990 for all nations. Bangladesh went from 59 to 70 years! 11 extra years!” (see here for the original data). “All nations” is not wholly true, though, but there are only very few exceptions, namely Belarus (-1), Guyana (-1), Gabon (-1), Belize (-2), Namibia (-2), Botswana (-2), South Africa (-4), Zimbabwe (-7), Swaziland (-12), and Lesotho (-13).
– Deutsche Muslime für Meinungs- und Pressefreiheit.
Hans Rosling: Ebola under Control, Twitter, 18 January 2015
– “Ebola „under control“ = 42 days with 0 cases. Liberia now = 1 case/day. A skilled team keeps pushing the curve down!”
Bill and Melinda Gates: Our Big Bet For the Future. 2015 Gates Annual Letter, January 2015
– According to Forbes Magazine’s list of billionaires, Bill Gates is still the richest person in the world. What does he do with all that money? A lot of it goes into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the most important and well-funded philantropic foundations in the world. Therefore it’s always something of an event when Bill and Melinda Gates publish their annual letter on development. In this year’s letter, they outline their quite optimistic (yet achievable) prognosis for the next 15 years. Even though you might call into question some of the predictions, it is still very likely that we will get a lot of good news in the next 15 years – especially considering the fact that this is not only loose prophesying, but is actually backed by a huge chunk of money.
– Endlich Gegenwind für das islamfaschistische Saudi-Regime?
Tillmann Neuscheler: Was hat Deutschland von der Einwanderung?, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 28. Januar 2015
– Unaufgeregter Artikel über die (v. a. positiven) Folgen der Einwanderung nach Deutschland.

Some Older Good News

–  Africa as you rarely see it portrayed: “Visualizing Africa’s Progress in Health, Food Provision, Political Freedom, Poverty and Education.”
Is War Over? — A Paradox Explained, YouTube, 9 October 2014
– “We live in the most peaceful time in human history. Wait, what? Seriously? That can’t be right, there are more wars than ever! Well, no and they’re killing fewer and fewer people, even though the world population is at an all-time high… and the numbers prove it! We explain how we came to this conclusion, and why war might… go away.”
Alberto Nardelli, George Arnett: Today’s key fact: you are probably wrong about almost everything, The Guardian, 29 October 2014
– An older article we happened to notice three months late but didn’t want to hold back: “Most people around the world are pretty bad when it comes to knowing the numbers behind the news.” Although this is not exactly good news, it proves people’s misperception of things like numbers of immigrants, Muslims, Christians and voters in their countries. It also shows that public discourse, carried especially by politicians and the media, is vital for people’s perception. There’s also some good news, at least for a part of our readers: In Sweden, Germany and Japan the level of “ignorance” is relatively low. Good news for most of us: The percentage of girls aged 15–19 who give birth each year is lower than you think
by Sören & Erik
Good news so far: 2014 – October | November | December

About Author: WWWWWSören Brandes

Geboren 1989 in Paderborn, hat Geschichte und Literatur in Berlin und Lund studiert. Master in Moderner Europäischer Geschichte. Promoviert derzeit am Graduiertenkolleg „Moral Economies of Modern Societies“ am Berliner Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung über die Geschichte des Marktpopulismus. Lebt in Berlin-Neukölln und interessiert sich für eigentlich alles, insbesondere für Globalisierungsphänomene, den Einfluss der Massenmedien darauf, wie wir denken und leben, und europäische Politik. Mail:, Twitter: @Soeren_Brandes, Facebook: Sören Brandes View all posts by

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