[extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 14 22:34:43 UTC 2007

On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 14:45:26 -0400, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net>  

> Gordon responded offlist that the discussion was about *war*, not  
> violence.

Wasn't meant to be offlist, my mistake.

> I understood the theme here to be war as mass-violence and why it
> appears to be declining.

The subject of the thread mentions "War" which I think most people  
distinguish from other types of violence. "mass violence" is fine with me,  
provided we understand we aren't talking about unorganized mob riots.

> Yet if we were to narrow the discussion to war between states, I would
> refer back to my original statement about larger systems of
> organization and add that while the violent aspects are in decline,
> it's only becoming clearer that it is, and always has been, about
> economics.

I don't disagree with you about the economic factor. However economics can  
be as much a cause of war as a solution to it. (As someone once said, war  
is capitalism with its gloves off :)

My issue with Lee concerns how best to measure the supposed decrease in  
the appearance of war over the course of history. I disagree that the  
decrease in global war-per-capita over the last 10,000 years or so can be  
seen as solid evidence of a meaningful decline in the propensity of  
nations to wage war. The decrease is possibly and I would say likely a  
function of the huge growth in human population over that time period  
relative to what I would suppose was the much more modest growth in the  
number war-capable nation-states.

I agree it seems plausible that war has declined even after adjusting for  
these factors, but without more evidence we can't rule out the possibility  
that nation-states have remained just as war-like as ever.


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