From my readings this week:
- Is the world a more violent place than is used to be? Joshua Goldstein says a big no in this piece in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Foreign Policy. The last decade has seen fewer war deaths than any decade in the past 100 years – despite a growing global population. And interestingly “the decline of violent behaviour has been paralleled by a decline in attitudes that tolerate or glorify violence – so we see today’s atrocities – though mild by historical standards – as signs of how our behaviour can sink, not of how high our standards have risen.” He also writes on how peace keeping has improved, why democracies don’t attack each other (but do attack non-democracies), and how China is “hands down the most peaceful great power of its time. China’s military hasn’t fired a single shot in battle in 25 years.”
- On the music front – I recently found NPR’s tiny desk concerts. I love this one from Gabriel Kahane – described as “rigourously crafted songs that fall somewhere between classical and pop.” Like all classical music, it’s worth persisting through the full 15 mins before judging.
- And finally, some shameless self-promotion. Check out my guest post here on the brilliant House of Cards website. It’s on the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Energy for All in 2012 and ways you can get involved.