Is the world less violent in modern times?

Implications of science and global politics on world peace

Essay, 2015

10 Pages, Grade: A



Events such as great breakthroughs in science, change in political infrastructures, spread of knowledge and education, creation of high-tech weaponry, religious terrorism, and war on terror .etc. have greatly affected societies, nations and the wider world. This has made everyone; from a layman to a military personnel and from a diplomat to a scientist, question if these changes in the world around us have contributed in making the world a less violent place or otherwise.

Due to a variety of different opinions and ideas; scholars, institutions, governments and other organizations are working towards finding solutions to this question. However, the global community has not yet been able to achieve consciences on the answer to this question. Furthermore, I believe that due to difference in ideologies, interests and conditions it would be impossible to find an answer that is acceptable to or agreed upon by all.

In this research paper, we shall try to discuss if the modern times are less violent or is it the other way around. To do so, we would be using some arguments by John Avery, as portrayed in his writing: Space age science and stone-age politics, in order to discuss how modern science and technology have produced evils that contribute to global violence. In addition, we would use his work to assess some factors in the world of today that neglect the hypothesis that the world of today is a less violent place.

Furthermore, we would rely on: The better angels of our nature by Steven Pinker to find arguments suggesting that violence has been in decline for a while now. In addition, we would try to examine his idea of the world being at the most peaceful stage in the history of the human race.


We would be using some statistical data and other resources in order to find answers to the following questions:

1. Does modern science play a role in peace making or does it work against it?
2. Do nationalism and the creation of states help in making the world less violent?
3. Does abolition of punishments like death penalty decrease violence?
4. What is the contribution of education and economics towards a world with less violence?
5. How effective is the role of international peace-making systems?

Answering these questions would help us get a clearer image of the aspects that affect the violence and hence would help us find the answer to the initial question: Is the world less violent in modern times?

Does modern science play a role in peace making or does it work against it?

Modern science has greatly contributed in providing individuals and societies with a life of comfort and luxury. In addition, aspects like improved transportation, communication, health care facilities .etc. owe their existence to science.

However, there is another side to the story that cannot be neglected. It is that science has also provided humans with the technology that could be used to bring an end to our civilization. Such technologies include; armory, weapons of mass destruction, machines that pollute the environment and so on. According to John Avery, what we choose to do with this technology is a matter of life and death.

Creation and use of nuclear weaponry during the Second World War is an example of how the advancement in science and technology proved to be extremely devastating and resulted in violence that persuaded the world to re- think over their strategies and actions. It was soon after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombarded with atomic fission bombs that the leaders of the world realized the great mistake that was committed. Scientists from the Manhattan Project, including Robert Oppenheimer understood that they had come up with a technology that was way too devastating to be handed over to humans. Later, the United States recognized its fault and provided Japan with a nuclear umbrella in order to make up for the loss. Albert Einstein wrote, in a telegram to leading Americans in May 1946: "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe". In addition, Dr Pervez Hoodhboy, in his book entitled Confronting the bomb narrates his concerns about the advancement in technology that has made it possible for any physics student to create a nuclear explosive. Hence, it could be concluded that majority of the specialists in the field do not approve of this technology and are of the view that it was a mistake to come up with such a thing in the first place.

On the other hand, some advocates of developing nuclear weaponry argue that it is vital for peace-making purposes. Kenneth Waltz, in his book entitled More May Be Better, discusses how nuclear weapons serve has a mean of deterrence for peace-making. He narrates that in case of a world full of states possess nuclear weaponry there would be absolute peace since it would bring about an element of avoidance to use nuclear weapons. However, it is important to note that deterrence is a matter of chance and it relies on the assumption that a state possessing nuclear weaponry would not use it as it would be deterred by the other state’s nuclear weaponry. In addition, this idea of deterrence does not look promising enough on states with political instability and religious or other influences. Furthermore, since there has been a great increase in non-state actors and terrorism on the bases of religion or otherwise, such weaponry can go into the hands of such non-state actors who would not be reluctant to use it for their cause.

None the less, science and technology also play a role in promoting and maintaining peace and stability at national and international levels. An example to this could be the use of advanced forensic science and other means of tracking down criminals which could not have been as easy before the advent of specific technologies. In addition, better communication methods have helped bridge gaps between people all around the globe that has enhanced tolerance and therefore contributed in bringing about peace. Furthermore, advancements in technology are also being used in foreign relations and economic co-relations in order to help in maintaining peace at a global level.

Therefore, it can be concluded that science and technology serve mankind in a way that no other field can as long as they are used for peaceful purposes and within the ethical boundaries. But the same aspect can result in the most devastating factors if misused.


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Is the world less violent in modern times?
Implications of science and global politics on world peace
Science and the world around us
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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415 KB
politics, science, modern world, technology, modern times
Quote paper
Mohammad Ahmed Hotiana (Author), 2015, Is the world less violent in modern times?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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