Don’t you wish it were as easy to get positive news as negative? With technology from which you can be almost instantly aware of any tragic death anywhere on the globe, we have to decide that we want to balance our information intake. I don’t suggest a head in the sand approach, but many seem to be going down for the third time in belief that everything is awful and getting worse by the minute.

At a one day financial seminar of First Trust Advisors LP, in Chicago a few days ago, I received a great shot in the mind of good news. The CEO, Jim Bowen, sets the tone for the organization with his focus on the major trends transforming our world in ways it is hard to grasp. So thanks to him and First Trust for emphasizing content never on the front page or leading any media feed. is their website.

First, living conditions for most people in the world have drastically improved. According to, the percentage of people in extreme poverty—living on roughly $2 per day—has dropped from 60 in about 1965 to 40 in 1980 to 20 in the mid-2000’s and now approaches 10 percent. Many countries have a rising middle class, especially in the presence of basic personal freedoms. Our prayers for the poor and starving are being answered.

Since the first Earth Day in April, 1970, aggregate emissions of the six common air pollutants have been reduced by 70 percent even while our gross domestic product has risen by 246 percent through 2015.  Through use of natural gas (and cleaner coal), total CO² emissions from electric power production have dropped from over 2,400 million metric tons in 2006 to just over 1,800 in 2016, a 25 percent reduction while total electricity generated has remained fairly stable at about 3,900 billion kilowatt hours.

If you like farm-to-market fresh food, check out the in-house hydroponic wall of greens of Vida Restaurant in Indianapolis. They harvest them in the building just before making your salad with it!  I cannot find this restaurant concept being practiced in KC yet, but hydroponics is alive and well in other forms.

One of the benefits of fresh, healthy food is reduction in disease. When President Nixon declared war on cancer in December, 1971, the rate of deaths per 100,000 people continued to rise until the early 1990’s, no doubt the harvest of decades of cigarette smoking. According to Stacy Simon for the American Cancer Society, the death rate fell 25 percent from its peak in 1991 through 2014, last year of complete data. While the prep for it is not enjoyable, I welcomed good news from my recent colonoscopy and I encourage you to get your checks performed too.

On a related medical front, the first vertebrae from a 3D printer was implanted in August, 2014, in a 12 year old boy in Beijing to replace malignant spine. Now similar surgeries are becoming less rare with better materials being developed every year. This technology paired with the use of your own DNA will be amazing in the next few years.

Finally, consider the fact that earlier this year, there were 5.8 million jobs posted in the various help wanted channels in our nation. This appears to be the most since at least 2001.  Open jobs are in all fields and many more workers are leaving one job for another, always a good sign of a vibrant economy.

There will always will be worries and challenges as well as solutions and people working to develop them. Are you looking for some good news mixed in with the bad?

(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is intended to be general in nature.)