The Better Angels of Our Nature

The Better Angels of Our Nature

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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is a 2011 book by Steven Pinker, in which the author argues that violence in the world has declined both in the long run and in the short run and suggests explanations as to why this has occurred. The book uses data simply documenting declining violence across time and geography. This paints a picture of massive declines in violence of all forms, from war, to improved treatment of children. He highlights the role of nation-state monopolies on force, of commerce, of increased literacy and communication, as well as a rise in a rational problem-solving orientation as possible causes of this decline in violence. He notes that, paradoxically, our impression of violence has not tracked this decline, perhaps because of increased communication, and that further decline is not inevitable, but is contingent on forces harnessing our better motivations such as empathy and increases in reason.

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