Source of book image:
Biologically modern humans have inhabited the world for at least 50,000 years, and maybe for 100,000 years or more.
Only in the last 200 years, and especially the last 100 years, has humanity made substantial progress in the quality and quantity of life.
Usually the most recent 200 years are compared with the previous few thousand, because conditions in the previous few thousand years are much better known than those in the tens of thousands of years further in the past.
But comparisons further back are of interest, and Brian Fagan’s book Cro-Magnon is a source of some information that allows us to do so to some extent.
In the next few weeks, I will occasionally be quoting a few passages from Fagan that I believe are suggestive.
The reference for the Fagan book is:
Fagan, Brian. Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2010.