--I think that the world is better than it used to be--
I think that people always instinctively think that "now" is the worst time in human history. We all have personal experience with the darkness that exists in today's world. But none of us have personal experience with the darkness that's existed in the rest of history - it's all just theoretical stuff that we've heard about. So of course we're going to look at all the problems going on right now and think that they're worse than all the problems that went on 50 or 100 or 500 years ago. But that's not reality - it's just a skewing of perception. The truth is that the world has always been a harsh and ugly place. If we took human morality and ethics and applied them to the natural world, we would call it evil and completely lacking in empathy. But human beings have risen above that - a little bit at least.
Anyway - look at somewhere like Russia, where a hundred years ago about 2/3rds of the population were serfs (the way they did it, it was pretty much just another word for slaves). Then the communist revolution happened. 40 million people died by the time Stalin finally fell, and the communist party still rules, and accepts no challenge to that rule. But at the same time - the people don't live as slaves anymore. There's a huge extent to which the people are allowed to live their lives however they want, without much interference, as long as they pay their taxes and do nothing to challenge the rule of the communist party. Yeah, things in Russia suck, but they used to suck a lot more.
And in the US - slavery is gone, most of the laws and other official discrimination that used to keep black people and women down is gone. Racism and sexism and homophobia are still big problems - but not nearly as much as they used to be. Obama is proof of that.
Yes - I think that the world is by-and-large a steaming cesspool, and our species is incredibly unethical. We're a largely selfish, apathetic, harsh and broken species who are much more likely to weave pretty facades over the real darkness in the world, rather than do something about it, or even admit that the worst parts of the darkness exist at all. But is it worse than it used to be? - no, it just seems that way.