This is the claim made by Matthew Barzun, US ambassador to the UK, in an intruiging piece for the New Statesman. He attacks the view that the world is sliding into anarchy, offering a counter-narrative that is every bit as sweeping and accentuates the positive:
It is a time of levelling. The world has reduced extreme poverty by half since 1990. Global primary education for boys and girls is now equal.
It is a time of enduring. The number of deaths among children under five has been cut in half since 1990, meaning about 17,000 fewer children die each day. And mothers are surviving at a nearly equal rate.
It is a time of flourishing. Deaths from malaria dropped by 42 per cent between 2000 and 2012. HIV infections are declining in most regions.
It is a time of strengthening. Africa is above the poverty line for the first time. Tens of millions have been lifted out of poverty in China. The debt burden on developing countries has dropped 75 per cent since 2000.
It is a time of healing. The ozone layer is showing signs of recovery thanks to global action. And all the while, the technological and communications revolution is making more people better informed than at any time in history.
I’m not sure I’m convinced by this. But I agree that “We are experiencing a “pre-” that we can’t name yet” and his article suggests that this widespread sense plays an increasingly important part in the political psychology of our age.