Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard and author of, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” takes the position that we may be living in the most peaceable era of human existence. In a contemporary society where stories of terror, war, and genocide abound in print, broadcast and online, such a claim seems preposterous.
Mr. Pinker makes the point that regardless of whether one views today’s world as good or bad, it used to be worse . . . much worse. About 15% of people in prestate eras died violently, compared with about 3% of the citizens of the earliest states. The author notes that “humankind has been blessed with six major declines in violence.” For the last decade, the rate of documented deaths from violence is an unprecedented few hundredths of a percentage point