Members in the Media
From: PRI

The world is actually becoming more peaceful — believe it or not


It’s time for a reality check. War seems more widespread than ever. Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Afghanistan, etc. Pope Francis warned earlier this month that a “piecemeal” World War III may have already begun. Violence on the streets seems to be growing too.

But stop the presses! It seems that may not actually be true.

“Violence exists,” says Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. “It hasn’t gone down to zero. But past decades were far more violent.”

Pinker has crunched the numbers. He first published his findings in 2011 in a book called The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined. He’s just updated his findings in the light of the violence in the three years since then.

In an interview, Pinker says “you can really only get a sense of how violent the world is, and what the trends are, if you count.”

“What you have to do, of course,” he explains, “is count the number of wars, count the number of people killed in war, plot the trend over time. That’s how you get a picture of whether the world has become more, or less, violent. It’s the only way to get such a picture.”

Read the whole story: PRI

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