The widespread perception is that we live in an unstable and dangerous world. But quantitative data concerning security and warfare, economy and society, governance and the rule of law over the time span from the end of WWII to date, and in particular during the last two decades, tells us that violence has declined, development has spread and international institutions have played a modest but increasing role. The fragility and reversibility of these apparently positive trends are acknowledged and the discrepancies between perceptions and realities discussed. However there seems to be consistency between the short- and medium-term transitions and those visible over the millennia in human history. Moreover, the simultaneity of the three trends is of significance, with the normative one potentially encompassing and consolidating them all.
Revised version of the first part of a paper presented at the international conference The Postsecular in International Politics, University of Sussex, 27-28 October 2011. Publ.: "Religious Revival and Megatrends in Global Security, Economy and Governance", Brookings Institution, 2 December 2011.
2. Economy, technology and society
4. Perceptions and realities