Posts

Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions

Comments

On Stateless Societies

In this one there is plenty of archeological evidence as it is co-authored by D.Wengrow who is a Professor of Comparative Archaeology.

I believe Graeber could benefit from a more insistent editor. His writing sometimes seems like ‘stream of consciousness’ and outside of the constraints of academic distinction.

On the other hand, his work and ideas circulate well beyond the discipline or anthropology and well beyond academia which allowed him to write in his own way I guess.

On Stateless Societies

I think you may be interested in this, it looks into stateless cities around Dnieper Rivers, Ukraine, dating back to 4000 BC. 

I find this very mind opening because the Ukrainian findings which are critical in understanding our past were inaccessible to western scholars for decades.

 

On Stateless Societies

I highly recommend the dawn of everything as well. It is probably the most recent, up to date book on stateless societies. 

Why do you have a problem with 'rigor' side in his books?

Is the World Getting Better? A brief summary of recent debate

Is this the most recent discussion on this debate? Last year, new study published that I think it is important to include.

In this paper, Robert Allen demonstrates that using GDP data to assess poverty causes major distortions, best way to determine long-term trends is to examine historical consumption statistics. He creates a basic needs poverty level that is roughly similar to the World Bank's $1.90 limit, and calculates the amount of people living below it in three main regions.

There’s one observation from Allen’s paper that’s worth pointing out.  Allen finds that the $1.90/day (PPP) line is lower than the level of consumption of enslaved people in the United States in the 19th century.  The poverty threshold Pinker uses is below the level of enslavement according to this.  Not many people would accept this as a reasonable benchmark for “better” in a civilized society. 

Perpetual Dickensian Poverty?

Not sure how to gain insight by making such a comparison in the first place, twitter is... I agree that using the cost of labor is not the best way to calculate; however, there is an issue with the calculation of poverty for the period prior to 1981.

This paper finds that the $1.90/day (PPP) line is lower than the level of consumption of enslaved people in the United States in the 19th century.  
 

Is the world becoming better?

That data on poverty is misleading.

For the period prior to 1981, the graph relies on estimates of GDP and income distribution from Bourguignon and Morrison.

Unlike household surveys, the B&M data does not provide information on people's access to livelihoods or provisioning, and it does not adequately capture changes in non-commodity forms of household consumption (subsistence, vegetables, fish, game, foraging, commons etc). This becomes problematic because we know that during periods of enclosure and dispossession under colonialism and early industrialization, the livelihoods and provisioning of ordinary people was often severely constrained even in cases where GDP was rising.  This violent history gets obscured by the graph.  (For more on this problem, see here).

this paper demonstrates that using GDP data to assess poverty causes significant distortions, and sees that the only way to determine long-term trends is to use historical consumption data.
To that end, he creates a basic necessities poverty level that is roughly similar to the World Bank's $1.90 limit, and calculates the proportion of people living below it in three main regions: U.S, U.K, India

His findings reveal a much different story than the graph above would have us believe.

There’s a final observation from Allen’s paper that’s worth pointing out.  Allen finds that the $1.90/day (PPP) line is lower than the level of consumption of enslaved people in the United States in the 19th century.  In other words, the poverty threshold the World Bank uses is below the level of enslavement.  It is striking that anyone would accept this as a reasonable benchmark for “better” in a civilized society.