Are we becoming more moral faster than we’re becoming more dangerous? Mankind is facing an apocalyptic moral test, Robert Wright says. Is the world slouching toward a grave systemic crisis? History is punctuated by catalytic episodes — events that can become guideposts toward a more open and civilized world. Is the world really better than ever? The headlines have never been worse, but an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good — and only our pessimism is holding us back. The fifth beginning: Though world events may seem depressing in 2017, we are in the midst of a new age that will usher in global peace and cooperation.

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