When Did Human Violence Start Falling?


"Human violence started dropping thousands of years ago with the formation of the first states, Dr. Pinker argues. For evidence, he points to archaeological studies and observations of stateless societies today. With the birth of the first states, rates of violence began to fall, and they have dropped in fits and starts ever since."

(H/t to Pete Booetke.)


  1. He must not consider abortion a form of human violence.

  2. Douglas Fry has a different take on Pinker's new book at Bookforum.

  3. Alan and Bob, yes, I agree, abortion and this blog are forms of human violence. I still don't think it would change the conclusion to include them.

  4. Cody, Fry seems to offer the leftist drivel approach.

  5. Or WWI and WWII. And genocides of the 20th century.

    Of course, citing these as proof is a unfair of me, because their destructive power are a consequence of the state of technology and the size of the population too (it's not possible to kill one million people if one thousand is all there is; and it's easier if you have bombs than if you have bows and arrows).

    I thinking it's difficult to make a conclusive case on this subject.

  6. "For evidence, he points to archaeological studies and observations of stateless societies today."

    What observations would that be?
    Lets look Somalia and USA...


    And it would be interesting to see how confident are these numbers of total population and violent deaths 5000, 10000, 20000 years ago because it is damn hard to figure how many people lived for example in Roman Empire and they were relatively developed society...


  7. @Alan: The moral case against abortion is that it amounts to another form of infanticide. But for the purposes of the subject at hand, infanticide has always been with us. Nor is there any reason to think that abortion would not be readily available in Ancapistan. So, not germane to Gene and Pinker's argument.

  8. Cherry-picking, Pike. How about Somalia and Canada, or Australia, or every single country in Western Europe?

  9. By the way, Cody, the "drivel" of which I was speaking is this nonsense about "structural violence."

  10. I don't know, Gene, I burst out laughing when I read the thing about "structural violence" as well, but wouldn't this be a good example of "everyone thinks they follow the non-aggression principle in practice."

  11. Yes, Warren (if I am following you) Fry apparently will think that we are aggressing against the residents of Manila by not providing them clean water.


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