The Project’s latest dispatch—for 2012—from the front lines of the human experiment provides a plethora of good news and bad news. The good news equates to this: “The world is improving better than most pessimists know.” And the bad news? “Future dangers are worse than most optimists indicate.”

The document argues that “the world is getting richer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful, and better connected and that people are living longer.” And it provides tantalizing details. Then it concludes, “half the world is potentially unstable.”

Said another way: “The world is in a race between implementing ever-increasing ways to improve the human condition and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity and scale of global problems.”

Eventually turning to a theme that regular readers of LEAP!psych will quickly recognize as one dear to this blogger’s heart, the report says, “The world needs hardheaded idealists who can look into the worst and best of humanity to create and implement strategies of success.”

The project’s editors offer thoughts like these on where hardheaded idealists should focus their efforts:

“We need to create better incentives for ethics in global decisions, promote parental guidance to establish a sense of values, encourage respect for legitimate authority, support the identification and success of the influence of role models, implement cost-effective strategies for global education for a more enlightened world, and make behavior match the values people say they believe in. Entertainment media could promote memes like ‘make decisions that are good for me, you, and the world.’”

And so on.

This is a very pragmatic piece of thinking, one that celebrates the great progress that humankind has been making lately. But it is also a very realistic document, understanding that, in the aggregate, there is certain to be a lot more uncertainty, danger and suffering on the horizon.

The Millennium Project was founded in 1996 and views itself as an independent non-profit global participatory futures research think tank that collects and assesses judgments from over 2,500 futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities.

You can read the whole summary for 2012 in a few minutes. I’ve not seen a better or more believable account of what the previous LEAP!s of our species have produced or of where we need to be aiming our future LEAP! efforts.

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