A Nobel Prize–Winning Economist on Why Life in 2015 Is Actually Pretty Great

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Photo: Universal Pictures

Last week, Princeton professor Angus Deaton was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, a testament to his five-decade career spent using the subtleties of human behavior to illuminate the big data of economics, and vice versa. Deaton is also known for his refreshingly optimistic outlook on the world, something he spoke about in an interview today with Pacific Standard. “There’s more democracy in the world than there’s ever been, there’s more people getting a chance to go to school, especially girls, many of whom throughout human history have had no chance at all,” Deaton said. 

While researching his 2013 book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, he recalls spending time in Western India, interviewing women who had very little, if any, education. “I don’t think we found a single [mother] who could read or write,” he said, “and yet you could look out the windows of the houses and you could see little columns of girls going to school. Now, a lot of those schools leave something to be desired, but that’s just an enormous amount of progress.”

2015 — what a time to be alive (but really, though).