Pessimistic optimistic pessimistic optimist

In the short term, things look bad. Debt is exploding and politicians seem unwilling to curb wasteful spending. The most popular presidential candidates are running campaigns based on pure demagoguery, with little to no evidence that they understand basic laws of economics or principles of liberty.

In the medium term, things are actually all right. Living standards are rising across the world. Despite complaints of political paralysis and economic stagnation, scientific and technological progress seems to be continuing apace.

In the long term, on the other hand, we have the prognoses of environmental disaster due to global warming and rising population. Government-led efforts to deal with these problems at the international level are failing miserably.

In the very long term, however, these projections lose their force when we remember the past achievements of human ingenuity in the face of similar obstacles. I have confidence that we will figure out how to deal with all these issues eventually, though I believe that such solutions will come from the private sector, which is where the vast bulk of real progress takes place.

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