Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is Violence Decreasing?

It is an article of faith among some that modern society is a perversion, and that we need to return to the simple pastoral existence where life was pure and good. This romantic idea has roots in the Industrial Revolution when the changes in society prompted a backlash.

Psychologist Steve Pinker did a history of violence called The Better Angels of our Nature. A good summary of the book is here and here.  It is in my queue to read this 862 page book -- I'll let you know when I finish it.

I like the optimism, and the rational reason for being optimistic. It shows that a combination of cohesion by kings and governments, combined with a higher-standard of living and greater communication has been good for people collectively. While modern society has problems, other societies had problems too.