A Rhodes scholar, successful financial investor, and philanthropist, Templeton contends that humanity is enjoying unprecedented growth and prosperity in all facets of life, contrary to pessimistic views about modern society proclaimed by the media. Citing statistics to show the civilizing impact of free market enterprise on health, nutrition, housing, work, leisure, and education, Templeton argues that most of the world’s population is better off today than at any other time in human history. In addition to increased productivity and technological advancement, Templeton considers the most hopeful sign of progress to be the tremendous resurgence of individual interest in spiritual matters, which can lead to increased good will between nations. Although Templeton’s one-sided outlook largely ignores the more troublesome and complex ethical, environmental, and health-related realities that accompany technological growth, his commitment to gratitude and spiritual optimism are refreshing.

January 1, 1998