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The scientist explained whether humanity becomes more peaceful over time


Psychologist Stephen Pinker in The Best in Us. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined argues that people have become more peaceful over time. Professor Alexander Bellamy discusses this topic in BBC Science Focus Magazine.

Stephen Pinker, an expert in the field of psychology, is confident that there is less violence in the world. As evidence, he cites the decline in violent death rates per 100,000 people, the abolition of cruel customs, and the reduction in targeted violence. All this was the result of the development of modern states, trade, as well as the manifestation of greater gender equality, cosmopolitanism and prudence, despite the wars.

At the same time, as noted by Alexander Bellamy, professor at the University of Queensland (Australia), we cannot calculate the exact number of people who have previously died violent deaths. For example, there is little data on spousal violence, colonial and criminal.

At the same time, the data about the past that we have now must be analyzed in a special way. This is due to the fact that the population size in each period was different. For example, now, thanks to advances in science, we have begun to live longer, in general, the number of violent deaths has also decreased. But the latter may not be related to our desire for peace, but simply to the development of technology.

In addition, in 1600, a million killed Britons would represent a larger percentage of their total than the killing of five million Britons of their total today. It’s all about the difference in population size.

Over the past two centuries, there is reliable data on the number of killed on the battlefield and a decline in this number since 1950. In addition, it is known that since 1600 the number of wars between the powers has decreased. However, it is not clear if this is a stable trend or just part of a cyclical process.

Also, in the studies, data are more related to international wars, and civilians are not taken into account. Therefore, it is necessary to fill this gap.

Signs of the desire for peace are visible at the regional level. Thus, peace has been maintained in Western Europe since 1945, the number of conflicts in Southeast Asia has dropped significantly since the late 1960s, as in South America. True, violent organized crime has increased in the latter region. But all this confirms that the “hotbeds of the world” can persist for decades.

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