How We’ve Progressed Depends Upon What We Define As Progress

So, is the world getting better? Stephen Pinker has just released the latest of his tomes insisting that it is. We’ve also, as he points out, innumerable people insisting that Gehenna is just around the corner. Or we can delve down into more detail and ask just what is progress? The answer being that it depends upon what we say it is – tautological and therefore true. Take this from Scott Sumner:

In 1968, there was almost a universal view that the progress in things like aviation over the next 50 years would be comparable to the progress over the past 50 years (since 1918).

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