by Martin Bridgstock
(An edited version of this book review was published in The Skeptic magazine, September 2018, Vol 38 No 3)
Some years ago Steven Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (Pinker 2012) made a great impression. In this book – using over a thousand pages of text and 100 diagrams – Pinker supported his case that, over the long run, human beings are becoming less violent toward each other. There were exceptions to the decline in violence, but Pinker seemed to make a powerful case for his argument. In addition, he presented a list of factors which, in his view, led to this decline in violence.
Since that time, Pinker’s argument has been verified. Johan Norberg (2016), a Swedish writer and Angus Deaton (2013), a Nobel prize-winner in economics, have come to the same conclusion. The key finding, the long-term decline in interpersonal violence, has to…
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