Sunday, July 03, 2016

A Jaw-Dropping Decline in Violence

We used to be a hell of a lot more violent towards each other than we are now. Consider the decline in the number of homicides per 100,000 people per year in five Western European regions from 1300 to 2010. As Peter Diamantis over Singularity Hub notes, "On an evolutionary time scale, 700 years is NOTHING, and our progress as a species is impressive."

It's happening in the US too. As recently as the early 1980s and mid-1990s, there were over 50 violent crime victims per 1,000 individuals in the US. Recently, this number has dropped threefold to 15 victims per 1,000 people.

1 comment:

David Johnson said...

Yep. And it's not just homicide and violent crime that have declined, and it is not just the last few decades either. Violence of many kinds has declined over a much longer time horizon, including homicide, human sacrifice, violence against blasphemers and heretics, capital punishment, slavery, war, genocide, terrorism,and violence against women, children, and gays, etc. See Steven Pinker's book "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" (Viking, 2011). In the first sentence of this great book Pinker writes: "This book is about what may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history."