Pessimism in the Western World

A lack of ambition plagues virtually every Western country. The ability to act has become shackled by a profound pessimism that does not exist in developing countries.

Attitudes have consequences. The rising stars of the non-Western world—from the United Arab Emirates to Singapore and China—are building cities with startling new architecture and bold infrastructure. Their entrepreneurs are expanding their operations across the planet. ... This divergence is not about resources; it is about the growing conviction in the West that moving forward is an illusion or, as the British academic John Gray’s puts it, "progress is a myth." Victorian empire-makers and intellectuals, like their republican American successors, believed perhaps naively in the potential of humanity, economic and technological progress. Today our intellectual and political classes have gone to the other extreme.