Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Waging peace

Wars, Guns and Votes examines the causes of post-1960 civil wars:
So let's get started: what actually caused these eighty-four civil wars? The economy matters. Low-income countries are significantly more at risk even when we control for as many of the possible spurious interpretations as possible: poor is dangerous. Nor is it just the level of income: it is also the rate of growth. Given the level of income, societies that are growing faster per capita are significantly less at risk of violent conflict than societies that are stagnant or in decline. In one sense this is hopeful: it tells us that economic development is peace-promoting. I have no patience with the romantics who believe that we can build peaceful socieites by arresting economic growth: the vision of the restoration of Eden. I think that the truth is quite the opposite.

The statistics of the world post-1960 are supported by the deep historical evidence of the societies of early history. These impoverished societies were extremely violent, as Azar Gat has now brilliantly shown in
War in Human Civilization. Economic development is a key remedy to violence. 
It would seem that if you want peace, strive for growth. By logical extension greedy capitalists and free market policies are some of the leading forces for peace in the world.

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