Guilherme Benchimol: History Proves that Optimism Is the Only Way

CEO and Founder of XP Inc., Guilherme Benchimol, considers the years ahead when reading the book, Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Benchimol draws parallels with recent history by considering Henry Ford, the first businessman to implement a revolutionary process in the car industry in the early 1900s: the assembly line.

In review, it’s worth considering that this same American businessman, who built an empire and became one the world’s richest men before dying in 1947, had access to fewer resources than 99.5 percent of Americans alive now.

When referring to the concept of resources in abundance, Guilherme Benchimol outlines a life filled with possibilities, starting first with means for basic survival – water, food and shelter – and three necessities for human development: education, energy and communication.

For the sake of perspective, a 12-year-old has access now to more than the American president had two decades ago.

Between 1900 and 2000, the span of a single century, life expectancy rose by 60 percent in the US as well. Several measures came into play: the possibility of death from an infection dropped due to antibiotics. Breathable air and safe drinking water became public health standards, as did the expeditious removal of waste.

In statistical terms, the world is safer and life more prosperous now than at any time in history. We live longer while experiencing fewer disruptions. 

Guilherme Benchimol poses the question: under such conditions, why does general pessimism continue? Considering people tend to highlight tragedies while dismissing the evolution of human history, could the reason be a sense of self-defense spurred by our survival instinct:

In the years ahead, the wealth of information, technology and capital will lead to a high level of competition among entrepreneurs. It will bring down prices at the same time it increases the supply of products and services. Under these conditions, quality of life will continue to improve, and the gap in fundamental inequalities will shrink.

Guilherme Benchimol counsels optimism. As the future will prove, there is no other way.