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An old case for a new orderUp the Down Escalator - Why the Global Pessimists are Wrongby Charles LeadbeaterViking 1799 pp384A book which proclaims that its purpose is the defeat of chronic pessimism needs to begin with a convincing demonstration that the enemy exists The failure of Up the Down Escalator to perform that essential task is largely attributable to Charles Leadbeaters apparent confusion about what pessimism isPessimists assume the worst - very often without much justification Robert Kaplans judgment that the benefits of global capitalism are not distributed equally is not an example of the gloom that Up the Down Escalator aims to disperse It is a statement of indisputable factIt must be admitted that what Up the Down Escalator lacks in analysis and evidence it more than makes up for in unsubstantiated assertion The opening sentence - Pessimism is in power - is typical in its meaningless rhetoric of what followsReactionary pessimists bemoan technology and globalisation because they threaten to wreck tradition dissolve ancient institutions and rob us of our identities There is no attempt to describe who these people are or where they can be found It is hard to believe that they justify a 300-page refutationThe problem with Up the Down Escalator is not that its conclusions are wrong but that they are self-evidently right If there is such a thing as a golden age it is in the future not the past Society has improved in almost every way for 2000 years and it is reasonable to expect the improvement to continueThe evidence of progress is indeed all around us In most large cities food from all over the world can be delivered to your door or taken out of a freezer to be microwaved in a few minutes I suspect that most potential readers of Up the Down Escalator know that alreadyLike most books which spread a minimal idea over the maximum possible number of pages Up the Down
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