Bradley Wright on the Upside of Life
Date: July 11th, 2011

If you are feeling depressed about all the horrible news you’ve been hearing recently, Prof. Bradly R.E. Wright — associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut — returns to Research on Religion to deliver you some upbeat news from his recently published book Upside.  Brad starts by reminding Tony that it was the Connecticut Huskies, not the Washington ones, that recently won a basketball championship and that is one of the reasons he is in a good mood.  But more than that, Prof. Wright shares a number of suprising statistical trends that show the world is becoming a better place all around.  We begin our discussion with the state of the economy, covering growing wealth in the US and the world over the past 50 years.  This discussion covers the oft-repeated claim that the middle class is disappearing and we take a closer look at income inequality.  Our attention then turns to crime , showing that crime rates have decreased significantly since the 1970s.  The middle part of our interview takes a step sideways to reflect upon why so many people think the world is getting worse even though the statistical record suggests otherwise.  We look at the role of the media, clergy, and academics in perpetuating negative information about the state of the world.  After this discussion we move on to health, happiness, marriage, and the environment, before closing with reflections on whether Christianity is on the brink of disappearing.  Throughout this podcast, Brad spices up his statistics with stories about how Christians are actively engaged in making a positive difference in people’s lives.  Listen until the end to discover what prescriptions Prof.  Wright has for continuing the positive trends we’ve seen over the past half century.  Recorded: June 7, 2011.


Bradley Wright’s website and blog.

Upside: Surprising GOOD NEWS About the State of Our World by Bradley R.E. Wright.

Christians Are Hate Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told by Bradley R.E. Wright.

News about the North Korean happiness survey, ranking China and North Korea #1 and #2 respectively!

Urban Ministry website.

HOPE International website.



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