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It seemed awful. But overall, it was a great year for humanity.
There has been a lot of bad news in America this year, and people are noticing: In December, 60 percent of US respondents felt the country was on the wrong track.
The angst isn’t unique to the US. Across 26 countries that are home to the considerable majority of the world’s population, an average of six out of 10 people thought their country was on the wrong track (as of the middle of 2017). That’s more surprising than the US result because, despite the threats posed by the world’s sole superpower going rogue — admittedly no small problem — the planet as a whole had a pretty good year.
Before 2017 recedes entirely into the rearview mirror, let’s take note of some of the good news. Last year saw:
1) Less famine
For a while, things looked terrible on this front. In June, a Vox headline warned of “20 million starving to death,” referring to what might become “the worst famine since World War II.” The famine was centered on South Sudan and affected other countries in the region. But the good news was that while deaths from malnutrition spiked during that crisis, relief efforts managed to avert mass starvation. True, millions remain food-insecure in the region, food shortages will continue into 2018, and the situation will not improve in a sustainable way without an end to the South Sudan’s civil war. (A cease-fire agreement signed in late December has been repeatedly violated.)