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Pinker's pinkest colored glasses - is the cannibal anarchy off the menu?

By Heraclitusstudent following x   2018 May 23, 6:20pm 544 views   10 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    

Some of his numbers:

Life expectancy:
- for most of history: 30 yrs.
- today 71 yrs, increasing.
- In Kenya, improved by 10 yrs in the past 10 yrs.

Child mortality
- In Sweden: in 1750: 1/3 babies would die, now 1/3 of 1%
- other regions follow same trajectory
- 1800s: 1% of women died in child birth,
- now reduced by a factor of 250.
- other regions following

Infectious disease:
- largely eliminated in developed countries
- progress being made in the rest of the world: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and HIV: all in decline in past 20yrs.

- agricultural revolution providing the required 2500 cal / adults.
- Every region can feed itself
- greatly reduced rate of under nourishment: now less than 15% in developing world.
- famine has been reduced, now mostly in war torn regions

- China & India growing quickly following developed nations
- GDP / capita in India now is about the same as Sweden in 1920.
- extreme poverty drastically reduced. As defined by 2$(2015)/day, 90% of the world’s population was extremely poor 200 yrs ago, now less than 10%.
- 75% reduction in this rate since 1999.
- inequality between countries is decreasing.
- within rich countries inequalities have increased but...

Social transfers:
- for hundreds of years no countries spend more than 1.5% of GDP on redistribution, but in 20th century most developed countries created large programs.
- today medium social transfers is 22% of GDP for developed countries.
- poverty rate in the US decreased based on disposable income (after transfers and taxes): 1960 poverty rate 32% fell to 7% now.
- when calculated on consumption it fell to less than 3%.

- in most history, war was the natural state. Peace was always an interlude.
- today almost never at war. Last war between large powers was US against China in Korean war.
- After 2nd world war, rate of death in war trend is down: 22 /100,000.yr in early 50s, to 9 during Vietnam era, to 1.2 today.

Freedom and Rights
- Overall trend in government is toward democracy
- even with recent backsliding, the world has never been more democratic than it has been in this decade
- 200 yrs ago, the number of democracies could be counted on 1 hand.
- 1970: 31 democracies. Many Europeans countries were not democratic.
- 52 in 1999
- 87 in 2009
- 103 in 2016
- if current trend continue, death penalty will vanish by 2026.
- more and more countries have decriminalized homosexuality.

Child labor
- 1850: 30% of English children were sent to work in farms and factories
- rate of child labor has plunged throughout the world

Violent Crime
- record of homicides in Europe for 800yrs, in 1300 homicides rate was 35/100,000.yrs.
- now 1 /100,000.yrs.
- any part of the world, the rule of law increase and we see this transition.
- In the US: down by half since 1992
- In the world down by 30% in the past 20yrs.
- Domestic violent, rapes, down 75%.
- Children are safer.

- We are safer in almost every way in the past century:
- 96% less likely to be in a car accident
- 88% to be mowed down on the sidewalk
- 99% less likely to die in a plane crash
- 59% less likely to fall to your death
- 90% less likely to drown
- 92% less likely to die in a fire
- 92% less likely less likely to be asphyxiated
- 95% less likely to be killed on job
- 96% less to die in an act of God: volcanos, landslides, earthquakes, etc…
- 97% less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightening
- only poisoning has gone the other way because of opioids epidemic.

- in early modern Europe: 15% of people could read and write
- Europe achieved universal literacy by mid 20th century
- Other countries following
- today 80% can read and write
- 90% under the age of 25%
- girls as well. In 1750, only 6 girls could read/write for 10 boys. Parity achieved at the end of 19th century.
- the world is close to gender parity for literacy today
- Even Pakistan, Afganistan have shown dramatic increases.

- Yes, people are getting smarter
- due to Flynn effect, IQ scores are rising 3points/ decades.
(Due to education, more abstract thinking and environments improvement.)

Quality of life
- 1870 work week: 62h/week , now has fallen by 22 hours + 3 weeks of paid vacations
- house work fallen from 62hours/week to 15 hours a week.
- leisure time increased by 8 hours a week since 1965.
- a single working mother today spend more time with her children than a married stay at home mom did in 1950s.
- we spend less on necessities: 60% a century ago, less than a 3rd today.
- life satisfaction increasing with development.
- in a survey 45 out of 52 countries: happiness has increased over the last 40 yrs.

- there was surely a large environmental cost to get to now, but...
- 178 countries have shown improvement in the environment quality over the last few decades.
- since 1970 in the US: population increased by 40%, GDP increased by 2.5, driven twice as many miles, but the 5 major air pollutants have been reduced by 60%.
- so don’t have to choose between development and environment.
- deforestation in temperate regions has fallen to 0.
- Tropical regions still see alarming deforestation, but the peak was 40 yrs ago.
- since 1970 we ship 2x more oil by sea, but 85% fewer oil spills.
- amount of earth surface protected from economic exploitation has doubled from 8% to 15%,
- amount of oceans surface protected from economic exploitation has doubled from 6% to 12%,



1   DASKAA   ignore (3)   2018 May 23, 6:23pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Heraclitusstudent says
- only poisoning has gone the other way because of opioids epidemic.

This is done voluntarily so should it really count?
2   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2018 May 23, 6:26pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Gee, a lot more ASSHOLES are surviving now than there used to be. No more Darwinian selection, unless you count walking off a cliff taking selfys.
3   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (33)   2018 May 23, 9:58pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

One wrong move in interest rates that threatens the boomfucks plans to hang million dollar refrigerator boxes on their progeny and CANNIBAL! ANARCHY! breaks out all over.

In fact, it's our only hope.




5   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2018 May 24, 10:26am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

In essence, Pinker wrote an ode to neo-liberalism, under cover of defending enlightenment values. As if neo-liberalism was the only possible extension of the enlightenment values.

In doing so, he offers a perfect rationalization for the intellectual elites to continue to support it, in spite of the fact this system being obviously built to benefit the richest fraction of the population and work around any possible advantage that labor could get over capital.

It is not accident that Bill Gates likes the book. He can rationalize that the system that raised him far above the masses is in fact for the greater good for these masses.

And we can argue about it but many of the facts he mentions can not be easily dismissed. For all its flaws, liberalism remains the only tool we have. There is simply no other that has been tested, worked, and scaled in space and time.
6   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 May 24, 10:37am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Most of these gains happened 1940-1990, when modern liberalism or the "Great Consensus" ruled. Under neo-liberalism, life expectancy actually declined for the 3rd year in a row.
7   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2018 May 24, 10:51am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The big flaw in his argument seems simple: everything he's listing here happened when the world's population and economy was growing.

But this growth can simply not continue, for ecologic reason. We are already overshooting earth capacity in many domains.

In the best case, population growth has to stop completely, and will probably fall later on. Which means economic growth will likely follow.

When that happens, we will be left with 1 tool: economic liberalism that is totally maladapted to a world with no growth.
People today probably cannot imagine the wrenching experience of completely stopping growth. It's would be like Japan but with no exports. A sense of deep malaise will spread. Institutions in place are discredited and then rejected. People will flock around irrational leaders, maybe religion. The light of reason will dim, and bad consequences will follow. Probably building on each others. It will be very hard to maintain the edifice of civilization without its key-stone that has always been growth.

And that's the best case because we easily hit a wall in the meantime. Progress like food capacity can peter out. "Super bugs" can spread. etc, etc...
8   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2018 May 24, 10:56am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsOfDragonEnergy says
Most of these gains happened 1940-1980, when modern liberalism or the "Great Consensus" ruled. Under neo-liberalism, life expectancy actually declined for the 3rd year in a row.

Well I think some of these trends started long before that. And continue to today. I think this is hard to contest.
But indeed history has super-cycles of growth and progress. They are usually followed by dark ages.
Light is brightest just before sunset.
9   TwoScoopsOfSpaceForce   ignore (4)   2018 May 24, 12:22pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Heraclitusstudent says

Well I think some of these trends started long before that. And continue to today. I think this is hard to contest.
But indeed history has super-cycles of growth and progress. They are usually followed by dark ages.
Light is brightest just before sunset.

Yes, these trends began in the Enlightenment. It's also normal for popular movements to arise in Enlightened eras and seek refuge in obscurantism and anti-reason. There have been many reactions to the Enlightenment generally, all of which have been defeated.

The good news is, we can isolate and embargo the dark regions of the world, so they can reduce their populations naturally until they find their own level, and since we already have the basic technology to spread across the Solar System, we can greatly mitigate our own problems and grow that way. It'll be a helluva long time before we exhaust Moon and Mars, and then we have the asteroids and the 90% of the mass in the solar system in the Oort Cloud and Kuipler Belt.

Western nations are already at or below replacement rates, after we industrialize the moon we may have to kick up the birth rate.

We should be focused on near-permanent habitation of space, with a 1, .5, and .3G centrifuge up there to see the long term effects of gravity on humans. I suspect with regular exercise, .3 could be tolerated for many years without harm.
10   Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2018 May 24, 12:49pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

TwoScoopsOfDragonEnergy says
It'll be a helluva long time before we exhaust Moon and Mars

I admire your optimism. The weak gravity alone will likely kill you. And radiations will get you if gravity doesn't.
Not to mention the extreme dollar and energy cost to raise anything out of earth gravity.
Most of humanity will remain earthbound for the time being.
Better manage the place well.

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