Friday, November 10, 2017

Peaceable kingdom

England in the 1600's isn't famous for being a nice time and place to live. But the article says it wasn't as bad as we think. "but the state was not simply stringing people up for occasional acts of petty theft. Quite often, judges and juries deliberately perjured themselves to ensure convicted thieves escaped the noose, usually by undervaluing goods stolen."

Homicide rates dropped over the century (in Kent from 5-6 per 100,000 to 3.6; in from 8-12 to 2 per 100,000). Pinker likes the idea that a strong central government means lower homicide rates--I suspect that you don't get a strong central government if the crime rate is too high.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Hajnal Line.

Pinker thinks it's strong central government, but you are more correct, that the cart and the horse are reversed. The homicide rate was already trending down, we just had better historians and more awareness later.

Every age and time was violent and brutal until very recently, and most still are. 17th C England is not in the top 100.