Life has become better: 5 indisputable achievements of mankind from Bill Gates' favorite book
Categories: CultureBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/life-has-become-better-5-indisputable-achievements-of-mankind-from-bill-gates-favorite-book
No wonder the richest man on earth is an avid reader. And in his personal blog, Bill Gates even takes the time to regularly share with netizens his thoughts and impressions about the books he has read.
In a recent post, the billionaire admitted that his new favorite book is the historical bestseller Enlightenment Now by Harvard scientist and professor Steven Pinker. The book was published in February of this year, and Gates managed to get a copy even before it appeared on the shelves.
In his blog, the billionaire talked about what ideas intrigued him the most, and offered readers five of the most interesting, in his opinion, facts from the book.
In "Enlightenment Today", the author carefully examines human history, sorting it by facts, and comes to an optimistic conclusion — humanity is now experiencing the most peaceful and safe time in history.
Pinker goes through 15 different categories like literacy, quality of life and safety and compares these indicators over the centuries using statistical calculations.
Despite all the negativity that we constantly see in the news, the scientist's conclusions are striking. He proves that, judging by any objective indicator, people today live safer than ever before in history.
1. The time spent on laundry decreased from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to one and a half hours in 2014
"Such a detail, of course, sounds like a trifle in the "grand scheme of things"," Gates writes in his blog. But technological innovations in the household sphere have given humanity — in particular, its beautiful half — a huge amount of free time and have helped to overcome the gender division of labor.
Pinker in his book calls the washing machine the greatest invention of the industrial revolution — after all, it freed up a whole working day a week for a person. In general, according to his calculations, the time a person spends cleaning the house has fallen from 58 hours a week at the beginning of the XX century to 15 hours today.
2. You have almost no risk of dying at work today
In 1929, the number of deaths from incidents at work in the United States was 20 thousand human lives per year. Today, this figure has fallen 4 times — to 5 thousand, despite the fact that the population has increased 2.5 times.Early reforms, such as the introduction of employer liability and compensation for workers, played a key role in progress in this direction. It is this legal practice, which has spread to the whole world today, that has stimulated the creation of safer jobs.
3. The probability of death from a lightning strike is 37 times lower than a hundred years ago
"Humanity's overcoming of everyday danger is an extremely underestimated form of progress," Pinker writes. And the risk of dying from a lightning strike is just the most obvious example.
After all, this danger has practically disappeared from our lives, not because there are fewer thunderstorms today, but because humanity today has the necessary technologies to monitor the weather. The improvement of security education also plays a role, as well as the fact that many more people live in cities today.
4. The average IQ around the world grows by three points every ten years
The brain of the younger generations is developing faster today thanks to good nutrition and a clean environment. Pinker also points to the great demand for analytical thinking in everyday life.To understand what he means, it's enough to think about how often and in what quantities we process information by checking the home screen of our phone or looking at a map in the subway. Despite some negative effects like getting used to devices, processing a large amount of information encourages abstract thinking from a young age, and this makes us smarter.
5. The war has become illegal
This idea seems obvious, but before the creation of the UN in 1945, there was not a single provision in the constitution or even an international norm according to which countries could not enter into war with each other if it was beneficial to them.
The conflicts, of course, have not gone away — in his book, the author even makes an edit for a deviation in statistics due to what is happening in Syria today. However, the attitude towards the war has changed. If a couple of centuries ago it was considered commonplace, and the risk of being on the battlefield was very high, today in the minds of people war is something unacceptable. But such an attitude is an exception rather than the norm in history.