Do the New Optimists have a point?

Long and thought provoking article on the New Optimists in The Guardian:

Saying we are doing considerably better than 200 years ago is a weak argument.

That happens to be the 2 centuries during which we invented all this wonderful technology, electricity, computers, cars, better/cheaper clothing and shelter, etc.

Yes, we managed to use that technology to provide running water and electricity and food and shelter, and to produce outcomes like an incremental improvement in extreme poverty and child mortality rates, which the New Optimists so frequently boast about.

But isn’t this sort of a bare minimum of what we could have accomplished with these wondrous technological gifts?

We have the technology to have eliminated all hunger and extreme poverty. We have the technology to have electricity without warming our planet to dangerous levels.

We could have achieved the improvements touted by the New Optimists without causing a mass extinction of species and loss of biodiversity over these 200 years.