By Ralph Benko
Nov.15, 2011 on
This column debuted a year ago and proceeded to make a troubling announcement: World peace has broken out. The political implications of world peace are dramatic — but difficult to credit.
A year later, however, the Annunciation of the Peace has turned into something of a cottage industry. The AP’s Seth Borenstein reports:
We’ve never had it this peaceful. That’s the thesis of three new books, including one by prominent Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem. In his book, Pinker writes: ‘The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.’
The reduction in world mayhem seems alien. TV news and newspapers present freighted drama, not dry facts. That obscures the trend. Also, a dramatic peace trend sounds implausible to those habituated to war.
But scholars of such matters observe that the number of war battlefield deaths has dropped by a factor of 1,000, falling from 500 per 100,000 in prehistoric times, to 60-70 in the 19th and 20th century (notwithstanding epic wars) to… less than one such death per 300,000 now in the 21st. Genocide deaths have dropped by well over a factor of 1000 from 1942 to 2008…continued at