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Wars and battles in human history inevitable?

  1. Nov 29, 2012 #1
    Most of the wars and battles that took place happened because of fight for natural resources, right?
    Could these wars be avoided? Every country wants its survival so they will naturally fight for resources. Now that we have advance technology we can trade resources quickly so fight for resources has gone down but in those days I think wars were a valid option for survival.
    Any opinions?
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  3. Nov 29, 2012 #2


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    I think you are wildly optimistic to think that natural resources are the primary reason for war. I think the bad side of human nature plays a much bigger role, and technology isn't going to change that.
  4. Nov 29, 2012 #3
    Well then what were the reasons for which these wars happened?
    I think all the wars must have happened because humans wanted to survive. Obviously they didn't see the long-term effect but ultimately the main reason was survival right?
  5. Nov 29, 2012 #4

    Many wars in the past were fought in order to get rich. You'd march in and steal the gold and jewels, then demand tribute so you wouldn't do it again. Taking of slaves was common. It was a form of organized crime. You could also take the farmers land and give it to your soldiers. According to Albert Einstein the main motivation for Germany joining WWI was economic. The nation had been enriched by the previous war and they wanted to do it again All this happened as recently as WWII which was largely to get rich by stealing land and gold and widespread enslavement.d Japan attacked the Allies in order to get iron and petroleum, so that was very much resource-motivated. Colonial wars were all about money. The France-Vietnam war was for control of the opium crop from Laos. The Chinese occupation of Tibet was a land grab, as was the state of Israela, as was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

    In the US the Spanish-American and 1812 wars were land grabs. The war on the native americans was all about land. The Civil War was about slavery which was both a moral and economic issue. The US got very wealthy through war, particularly against Mexico. In those days it was the Department of War.

    Modern war is a lot more costly and destructive, so it isn't as popular. The widespread distribution of the AK-47 rendered colonialism less profitable. Nuclear weapons render war extremely unprofitable. Without them I think we would still be having big wars.

    Most revolutions are about money too. Not to get rich, but to avoid starvation. If you are going to die for sure if you do nothing....

    So I would say that most wars have been due to the profit motive, not simple survival. In the wars I mentioned the aggressors would have survived comfortably without their war. The one who is worried about survival is the victim.

    During some recent wars where the winner loses money there are often influential interests who gain considerable wealth. Some say that the Israel/Arab conflict is about religion, but actually it is about land. If all the Jews converted to Islam today it would make no difference at all. They would continue to fight over the land.

    Inevitable? aCertainly not. If a warlike place like Europe can find peace, then any place can.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  6. Jan 22, 2013 #5
    There is five factors that influence human history, especially war:
    Relationships in groups and societies, think Pakistan/India type conflicts.
    Competing Ideologies, think Fascism vs. Communism vs. Democratic Liberty in WW2 and the Cold War.
    Natural Resources and other stuff, the 13 colonies were heavily taxed and they rebelled.
    Different religions conflict like in the 30 years war.
    I can't think of anything in particular at the moment, during a particularly rocky stretch of the Roman Empire, the Year of the Six Emperors saw the military auctioning off the position of emperor to the highest bidder.

    Just consider that, its not all natural resources. To make a peaceful world you would somehow need to remove that, it would most likely involve totally removing human inequality, our basic instincts and ambitions, all natural barriers to ensure a global culture, and involve a socialist or simply totalitarian world government, and to avoid conflict it would have to have happened really early in our history. In other words its impossible.
  7. Apr 12, 2013 #6

    Look at South America. In the past 200 years there have been a few "wars" but these are just border skirmishes. It is true that they have had civil wars, but these are pretty small potatoes compared with European wars, particularly the "World" wars.

    Of all the continents I would say that Europe was the most warlike by a very great margin. Our history is biased toward Europe so we get a distorted view of things.
  8. Nov 30, 2013 #7
    Wars also regulate our population. We are a species that has the ability to reproduce at will, without any limits except resources.

    What happens when there is not enough resources to support our population?

    What restores the balance now that major wars do not provide additional resources?
  9. Nov 30, 2013 #8


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    You might reconsider your first paragraph in light of the Paraguayan War of 1864-70. As a result of that conflict, it has been estimated that 60%-90% of the entire pre-war Paraguayan population (not just combatants) was lost due to fighting or disease.


    One of the factors which controls the frequency of outbreaks of violence between two countries is geography. South America has plenty of jungles and tropical conditions in the north and is broken up in the south by high mountain ranges (the Andes) or inhospitable deserts. It is not for lack of trying that the various South American nations haven't been more warlike with one another, but much of their energy and treasure is spent keeping themselves alive in various less than hospitable climates.
  10. Nov 30, 2013 #9
    Good point. I suppose our technology has made the earth much smaller and easier to get places, and made conducting wars easier.

    If I were starving, id think I would not just sit there and die..Id rather die trying to get some food.
  11. Dec 1, 2013 #10


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    Just because humans have the ability to reproduce at will does not mean that they will always do so.

    War as a means of providing additional resources is an incredibly inefficient proposition. As few as fifty years ago, it was predicted that the 1970s and beyond would see millions die as a result of having insufficient food to feed the anticipated increase in population. These deaths did not occur because food production saw sharp increases due to better crops and more efficient methods of farming (the Green Revolution), not because the nations with growing populations and insufficient food production waged war on their more prosperous neighbors.
  12. Dec 1, 2013 #11
    That's true. I wonder what it will take to keep our standard of living intact though. Everyone has and depends on cars now...how much has oil consumption jumped since the 50's I wonder? that's what I mean about resources.
  13. Dec 1, 2013 #12


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    It's a complicated topic; there are many different theories about when, or if, 'peak oil' has occurred:


    As energy generated by oil is essential to maintaining current standards of living, increases in the price of oil bring out a hole host of innovation in the exploration and production of oil. New seismological techniques help to find oil deposits which might have remained undiscovered, and new technology allows for the development of oil fields offshore or from from sources previously thought to be uneconomic to develop, like tar sands. Fracking can used in regions previously explored and thought depleted of economically recoverable oil and gas.

    The point is, economics provides a host of incentives to innovate in the face of looming shortage to maintain a desirable standard of living. Poor economic theories can also artificially turn abundance into shortage in a relatively short time. Before WWI, tsarist Russia was a net exported of food; after the Bolshevik revolution, within a few years the Soviet Union was dependent on imported food and there were several large famines in the Ukraine, where much of Russia's food is produced.
  14. Jan 24, 2015 #13
  15. Jan 28, 2015 #14


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    IMO, conflict and war are an inescapable part of human nature.

    Galations 5:17
    New Living Translation
    The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

    George RR Martin
    "The human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about."
  16. Feb 8, 2015 #15
    Conflict comes when someone wants something bad enough that they take it unfairly from someone else and that someone else tries to stop it. The concept of "war", "battle", "skirmish", "fight", "invasion", and so on just depend on how many someones are involved, who the someones are, what and how big the something is, who wins, and how much fighting back there is.
  17. Feb 8, 2015 #16


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    As long as there are countries and beliefs (both in plural), there will always be a fight.
  18. Feb 14, 2015 #17


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    I think the fights are pretty much always about resources. People use their beliefs to justify their right to resources, but without resource contests, people with diverse beliefs co-exist pretty well.
  19. Feb 14, 2015 #18


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    IMO, that's not true at all, especially in light of recent events. The Charlie Hebdo massacre, the attack at the cafe in Copenhagen, the whole ISIS thing all belie the sentiment that people with diverse beliefs co-exist pretty well. :frown:
  20. Feb 14, 2015 #19


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    ISIS's motivation is political at its core. The resource they're after is land. They're mad about Picot-Sykes. Before Picot-Sykes, Jews and Muslims co-existed. There was (naturally) hate crimes, but there wasn't war between them until westerners stepped in and promised land to multiple parties at once. And yes, there are fanatics that will commit terrorist acts on their beliefs, but getting a whole military wing to go to war requires material motivation.

    Once people start fighting over resources, things get ugly, differences in beliefs become more apparent (and help morally justify one's right to kill for the resource they want).
  21. Feb 14, 2015 #20


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    Try again. ISIS is primarily fighting in a few city strongholds, and trying to take other cities in their attempt to drive out or kill all who do not subscribe to their beliefs. I doubt 1 in 100 ISIS members even know or care what Picot-Sykes is about. Their conflict, in part, stems from much older rivalries between Shia and Sunni Moslems that existed centuries before Messrs. Picot and Sykes ever played with a map.

    ISIS soldiers are not agrarian reformers. They are fighting a war of extermination against all whom they see as not following the true path of whatever.
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