Is the world a safer or more dangerous place? The battle rages on, with Stephen Pinker restating his case.
There is only one way to elevate a discussion of war trends above the level of a barroom argument, and that is to consult quantitative datasets assembled by disinterested scholars who define what they count as a “war,” stick to one criterion for which deaths to tally, and exhaustively list all wars known to have taken place during a set interval.
Several of these datasets are available, such as those of the Human Security Report Project (HSRP). Most of the scholars who have examined them agree that the decades since 1945 have seen a decline in wars among great powers and developed states (what I call the Long Peace), and the decades since the end of the Cold War have seen a decline in deaths from wars of all kinds (the New Peace). Disagreement persists, to be sure, about the causes of the declines and how long they will last.