Steven Pinker recently wrote a big fat book named The Better Angels of our Nature, in which he argues that the rates of violence in the world have been declining – in many cases rapidly – for many years. His statistics are backed up by numerous and seeming unbiased sources.

He has a new article in the Wall Street Journal making a somewhat broader argument. An example:

“Consider the U.S. just three decades ago. Our annual homicide rate was 8.5 per 100,000. Eleven percent of us fell below the poverty line (as measured by consumption). And we spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 34.5 million tons of particulate matter into the atmosphere.

“Fast forward to the most recent numbers available today. The homicide rate is 5.3 (a blip up from 4.4 in 2014). Three percent of us fall below the consumption poverty line. And we emit four million tons of sulfur dioxide and 20.6 million tons of particulates, despite generating more wealth and driving more miles.”

He extends his arguments to worldwide trends, and credits the progress to the gradual adoption of ideas proposed in the Enlightenment over two centuries ago.

An interesting article and certainly a different story from what we usually read. Any comments?