I watched a music video compilation of 'best' pop songs of the year 2000 recently, and I have to say unlike some early 90's songs the pop songs of 2000 did age rather well. It certainly was a fine summer.
What struck me was a comment on the video, though:
"best thing about this year is that it was before 9/11"
It's difficult to find anything that changed to the better for Europeans since (save for internet connection speed), but it's very easy to compile a long list of things that turned to the worse. This is due to both the allergic overreaction to 9/11 and the bursting of several economic bubbles in the Western world.
So basically what happened is that the people of the Western world failed to keep what they had; peace, prosperity, calmness, confidence.
The failure wasn't exogenous, it was not some natural disaster. It was man-made, and thus should trigger learning to avoid a repetition under similar circumstances.
There are developed countries with little if any bubbles in their economy for decades, so it's possible to get this under control. The allergic overreaction on the other hand - that's a difficult one. I suppose this requires to elevate the right people into positions of prominence in politics and media.
P.S.: This was originally written in 2016, I just held it back for months. Now I am additionally concerned about what consequences these years will have in the long term. The direction the Western World is heading to may seem promising to some, but I have rather mixed expectations. Another lost decade isn't unlikely. That would be two lost decades for some countries, others had earlier problems and may experience a third lost decade in a row. There's much more potential for the advance of societies.