In measuring human violence, Steven Pinker (Profile) appears, understandably, to favour a per capita rate of homicides over the centuries. A revealing alternative would be killings as measured against their time span, ie how many humans are actually slaughtered in the shortest-possible time. In this case, our era is by far the bloodiest and most innovatively violent ever.
The point that Pinker is making is that what you have just described there is the conventional view.
Yes, lovely, now look at it Pinker\’s way. What is the chance of your dying a violent death? From war, murder, violence of all kinds?
Vastly lower now than it was, which is very much Pinker\’s point.
While there are those who still argue about it the average for certain tribal societies was 20-30% of men dying by being murdered. That\’s actually higher than the death rate for Brits in WWII: might even be higher than that in WWI, not sure.
That\’s the point that he\’s making and it\’s a good one too.