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Pinker, Steven

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The Guardian - United Kingdom | 22/03/2015

Steven Pinker on the distorted image of a world full of wars

The reporting on conflicts in places like Ukraine, Iraq and Syria is wrongly giving the impression that far more people are dying in crises and wars now than in the past, psychologist Steven Pinker writes in the left-liberal daily The Guardian: "Research institutes in Oslo and Uppsala compiled datasets of global battle deaths since 1946, and their plots showed an unmistakable downward trend. The per-capita death rate fell more than tenfold between the peak of the second world war and the Korean war, and then plunged an additional hundredfold by the mid-2000s. Even the recent uptick from the wars in Iraq and Syria has not brought the world anywhere near the death rates of the preceding decades. Other datasets show steep declines in genocides and other mass killings. ... As long as violence has not vanished altogether, there will always be enough explosions and gunfire to fill the news, while the vastly greater portion of the planet in which people live boringly peaceful lives is reporter-free and invisible."

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