Is the World Becoming a Worse Place?

I feel as though, in my attempts to learn more about sociology, politics, history, etc., that a lot of people, perhaps too often conservatives and the uneducated, but also liberals and those with university degrees, say that the world is becoming a worse place to live. Examples are: global warming, social unrest, natural disasters, disease, etc.

I tend to believe that this isn’t so. Perhaps, instead, it is due to globalization and access to information about events around the world at all times, a cognitive bias: we’re seeing more violence, disaster, etc., as we become more globalized and infored, ergo, these things are actually increasing.

I know, personally, that I wouldn’t want to live at another time than now: if I were to go back in time, I might be going back to a time when: slavery was widespread and rationalized; different races were seen as ‘less human’; women were subjugated to their husband’s will, and were seen as performing a function: making babies; religious persecution was rampant; etc. etc.

Now, it is true that some of these things still exist, perhaps in other forms, couched in different names. However, I would still say that now is better than then: the forms of slavery, subjugation of women, and so on, is not as bad as it was before, and will hopefully be completely eradicated in the future.

Certainly, social inequalities may be increasing around the world, yet even the poorest today are better off than the poorest in any time in the past.

Anyways, thinking about this reminded me of a Steven Pinker video I saw a while ago, about the history of violence, and how violence has been decreasing over time ever since humans existed. Check it out below:


About dontdontoperate

28 year old originally from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. H.B.Sc. from UofT with a major in chemistry and a double minor in philosophy and math. M.Sc. from UofT in physiology and neuroscience. Finished my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at McMaster in the fall of 2013.
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