The Decline of Violence
Steven Pinker’s thesis: Our era is less violent than any era in human history "
-More democracies = fewer wars "
-Your chance of dying by violence in prehistoric societies is 15%"
-By 20th century your chance of dying by violence is 3%"
- The creation of states and increase of commerce has decreased violence"
Humanitarian Revolution (i.e. Gay & Women’s Rights) - Increases awareness of improper
Noam Chomsky: "
1. States generate large-scale violence (usually to their own) "
2. Moral progress alongside potential nuclear annihilation"
What is Politics?"
-Elections —> Decision making power, changes in governance "
-Demonstrations —> protesting, marches"
-Policy Decisions —> Coal mining, solar power, health, education, etc. "
-Law Making —> Legislation, making the rules (i.e. taxes, spending, infrastructure, etc.) "
Why does politics matter?
-Decisions that aﬀect you"
-Laws assign rights and duties"
-Decisions are enforced"
Dominican Republic vs. Haiti"
-Diﬀerent environmental conditions are mainly the consequence of political decisions "
-This is why Dominican Republic is better oﬀ"
-Other examples include: North vs. South Korea, Nogales (Arizona vs. Sonora)"
-Property rights, enforcement of contracts, distribution of power, constraints on power"
Some Meanings of ‘Politics’
-Formal gov’t activity (i.e. introducing laws)"
-Dishonestly seeking personal gain"
-Noble pursuit of the public good"
-‘Who gets what, when, and how?’"
-A biological order that includes human, apes, and monkeys… "
-Who is the cruelest primate? —> Humans "
-Chimpanzee Politics: "
-Their interactions are based on competition, power, (the threat of) conﬂict"
-Dominance strategies and alliances"
-There are clear winners and losers"
-Male power politics —> intergroup warfare, very aggressive and territorial "