Just before Xmas, I asked the readers at Core and at Troppo what they though the best bits of news of 2012 were.
Many, including myself but also David Walker, Steve Dunera, Tel and Jim Rose thought that last year was another in a long period of strong economic development in the poorest regions of the world, including in Africa, India, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. This was argued to be causally linked to improvements in the human condition (education, life expectancy). So in effect, last year again saw the slow rise of much of humanity out of poverty, ignorance, ill-health and other misery. The general rise of humanity out of poverty, violence, and ignorence is the kind of development that economists and philosophers have been hoping would happen for centuries, but we are currently living in the decades it is actually happening.
Jim Belshaw pointed out that institutions designed to improve justice in this world had again been slowly improving, presumably including the working of the international courts, but also the development of monitoring systems that keep tabs on the behaviour of the powerful in the conflict areas of the world. Jim thought this boded well for the continued reduction in conflict levels in the world.
Steve Dunera made the associated point that mobile phone connectivity has increased in much of the world and expressed the opinion, which I share, that this connectivity is turning into a vehicle for by-passing local monopolists of various plumages, hence again boding well for future developments in the economic and political sphere.
Tim Macknay pointed to the undoubted progress in the political situation in Burma as the highlight of 2012.
And then of course positive technological developments could be celebrated such as the reduction in costs of solar panels and improvements in self-driving cars.
If I cast the net wider and include things I found personally uplifting, I would say last year was also a good year for popular art, including movies and music.