March 20, 2015

NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR FATHER DID:

Guess what? More people are living in peace now. Just look at the numbers (Steven Pinker, 3/20/15, The Guardian)

The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty and despotism, a steadily growing proportion of humankind is surviving infancy and childbirth, going to school, voting in democracies, living free of disease, enjoying the necessities of modern life and surviving to old age.

And more people are living in peace. In the 1980s several military scholars noticed to their astonishment that the most destructive form of armed conflict - wars among great powers and developed states - had effectively ceased to exist. At the time this "long peace" could have been dismissed as a random lull, but it has held firm for an additional three decades.

Then came another pleasant surprise. Starting in the 1990s, political scientists such as Joshua Goldstein, who kept track of ongoing wars of all kinds, including civil wars and wars among smaller and poorer countries, noticed that the list kept getting shorter. Research institutes in Oslo and Uppsala compiled datasets of global battle deaths since 1946, and their plots showed an unmistakable downward trend. The per-capita death rate fell more than tenfold between the peak of the second world war and the Korean war, and then plunged an additional hundredfold by the mid-2000s. Even the recent uptick from the wars in Iraq and Syria has not brought the world anywhere near the death rates of the preceding decades. Other datasets show steep declines in genocides and other mass killings. The declines are precipitous enough that they don't depend on precise body counts: the estimates could be off by 25%, 100%, or 250% and the decline would still be there.

Posted by at March 20, 2015 6:43 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« LET THE BIDDING WARS COMMENCE: | Main | TO CONTROL COSTS YOU INCREASE THE PORTION THE CONSUMER PAYS: »