Bill Clinton on Why the World Is Getting Better All the Time
Our world is more interdependent than ever. Borders have become more like nets than walls, and while this means that wealth, ideas, information and talent can move freely around the globe, so can the negative forces shaping our shared fates. The financial crisis that started in the U.S. and swept the globe was further proof that—for better and for worse—we can’t escape one another.
There are three big challenges with our interdependent world: inequality, instability and unsustainability. The fact that half the world’s people live on less than $2 a day and a billion people on less than $1 a day is stark evidence of inequality, which is increasing in many places. We’re feeling the effects of instability not only in the global economic slowdown but also in the violence, popular disruptions and political conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. And the way we produce and use energy is unsustainable, changing our climate in ways that cast a shadow over our children’s future.
But I firmly believe that progress changes consciousness, and when you change people’s consciousness, then their awareness of what is possible changes as well—a virtuous circle. So it’s important that the word gets out, that people realize what’s working. That where there’s been creative cooperation coupled with a communitarian view of our future, we’re seeing real success. That’s the reason I try to bring people together every year for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Here are five areas in which there has been concrete, measurable and reproducible progress.