Many believe that things are getting better and will continue to do so as long as humans do the right things. For some, the right things are a collectively agreed upon ethic, and for others it is obeying a religious rule or following after God. But the optimist believes the glass is half full and getting fuller by the minute. Many great works have been inspired by the motivation found in this view. One classic endeavor that leans heavily on this notion is that of helping the poor. The argument is that if we can help the most helpless overcome poverty and need, then we will be raising the condition of the world as a whole, thus making it better. Because the term better is difficult to quantify, the optimist, while not sure, still believes that such compassionate acts as helping the poor is worthy of our efforts and leads toward things becoming better.
In the following TED Talk, Bono (Paul Hewson of U2 fame) discusses the statistics that show how much better things are for the poor of the world today compared to just ten years ago.