Brian Wang posts a very cogent article about how global forces exist which delay progress and cause global harm. This includes the use of coal instead of cleaner energy (including nuclear), causing hundreds of thousands of deaths per year. It also includes corruption and violence preventing distribution of food and medicine and preventing economic growth.
I find it amazing that the human race spends on the order of a million dollars per year on molecular manufacturing when the potential impacts are measured in trillions. In other words, the race is spending less than one ten millionth of its efforts on this technology. The shortfall is mostly due to political issues, such as a lack of interdisciplinary thinking.