CHALLENGES IN CHINA, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: 1800–1912
When Steven Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined was published in 2011, the public and academic reaction was cool. His assertion that violence has been on the decline for the last 10,000 years was radical to say the least. Still, as a renowned Harvard professor, Pinker couldn’t be summarily dismissed and his data drew attention. Since then it has become widely accepted that he was right. The world is in an era of unprecedented peace.
As violent as our human societies can be today (and there certainly are many ongoing issues that should not be taken lightly) an analysis of history makes apparent that things used to be much worse. Just how much worse becomes clear when we look at past episodes such as the Taiping Rebellion that China suffered.
Without the study of history we would have no access to the knowledge that we are living in a time that is very different than the past. Nor would we have the inclination to look for the factors that have precipitated this change. But understanding what brought about the decline in violence will be the key to continuing to make the world safer and more secure.
Read the information in the following article:
Pinker, S. (2011). Violence Vanquished. The Wall Street Journal. Sept. 24, 2011.http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904106704576583203589408180
Answer the following questions:
- How does the condition of stability in China today compare with that of the 19th century (1800s)?
- How does the condition of stability in China today compare with that of the 20th century (1900s)?
- What is Pinker’s thesis about the change in violence over time?
- To what does Pinker attribute the decline in civil wars and civil unrest?
SLP Assignment Expectations
In Module 2 SLP, you are expected to:
- Answer the questions clearly, using full sentences with correct grammar and spelling.
- Write one or two paragraphs on each question.