January 3, 2016

The importance of quantifying human progress

"[Q]uantified progress is a feedback signal for adjusting what we have been doing. The gifts of progress we have enjoyed are the result of institutions and norms that have become entrenched in the last two centuries: reason, science, technology, education, expertise, democracy, regulated markets, and a moral commitment to human rights and human flourishing.
As counter-Enlightenment critics have long pointed out, there is no guarantee that these developments would make us better off. Yet now we know that in fact they have left us better off. This means that for all the ways in which the world today falls short of utopia, the norms and institutions of modernity have put us on a good track. We should work on improving them further, rather than burning them down in the conviction that nothing could be worse than our current decadence and in the vague hope that something better might rise from their ashes." ~ Steven Pinker, source: Human Progress Quantified

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