The tendency for international news to focus on violent conflict makes it hard not to conclude that the world is getting more dangerous.
But a growing body of evidence suggests the opposite is the case.
Harvard Professor Steven Pinker charted the pacification of human society from pre-history to the 20th Century in The Better Angels of Our Nature and found death rates from conflict falling from 15% per annum to 3%.
The chart uses a logarithmic scale for deaths, which means the reduction in conflict mortality rates in the 20th Century is sharper than it appears at first sight.
Author: Mark Jones is Commissioning Editor for the World Economic Forum
Image: Iraqi girls gesture as they celebrate after Iraqi security forces entered the town of Amerli September 1, 2014. REUTERS/ Stringer