World peace

  • Thread starter wolram
  • Start date
  • #1
wolram
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
4,397
559
  • Like
Likes Psinter, Sophia and Silicon Waffle

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Silicon Waffle
162
203
Very nice! Then what about doing businesses in those red zones ? Is it safe, really enjoyable (without headaches) however cheap the labor over there may be ?
 
  • #3
Hornbein
1,121
819
If Europe can find peace after millenia of war, anywhere can find peace.

The world is a lot more peaceful than it was. I, II, Korea, H-bombs, Viet Nam, Iraq vs. Iran, Kosovo, Iraq I...
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #4
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
18,148
10,976
I was wondering how much it would take to bring about world peace ...
How much WHAT to bring about world peace?
 
  • #5
18,931
9,206
Until war is no longer profitable, it will continue.
 
  • Like
Likes Silicon Waffle, Sophia and Rx7man
  • #6
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
18,148
10,976
Until war is no longer profitable, it will continue.
I don't think profit is the cause of all wars. Ideology and religious fervor are among other causes.
 
  • Like
Likes HossamCFD
  • #7
18,931
9,206
I don't think profit is the cause of all wars. Ideology and religious fervor are among other causes.
I'm thinking a degree away. aka arms dealers.
 
  • #8
Rx7man
425
187
I think a lot of people with a lot of interest in selling weapons don't have issues with stirring the religious pots up a bit.
 
  • Like
Likes Sophia
  • #9
Hornbein
1,121
819
Until war is no longer profitable, it will continue.

In the old days war was about booty. That went out with the invention of the machine gun. War became a loss to everyone involved except Daddy Warbucks types. They may wield considerable influence, but I don't see why this tiny minority can't be kept under control.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #10
jackwhirl
234
153
2.24 X 10^32 Joules would be a good start. How many world pieces did you want?
 
  • #11
Hornbein
1,121
819
War creates jobs. So does disease, lawsuits, mental illness, crime, natural disasters, etc.
 
  • Like
Likes Sophia
  • #13
Hornbein
1,121
819
  • #17
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
Weapons companies cause wars? Are you guys serious? If that were true, they must be reaaalllly bad at it, since none of the major world powers have had a significant war in 40 years! The wars going on right now are low cost, low tech, low profit.

The main profit from war is theft, but even that isn't very significant anymore. Most wars are matters of religious/ethnic hate, not profit. Theft and hate are what war has always been about. Countries that have grown out of using violence to solve such issues amongst themselves (the West) have essentially completely abandoned war.

The idea that weapons companies cause wars is just a popular - albeit vague - liberal conspiracy theory.
 
  • #18
S.G. Janssens
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
1,223
818
If that were true, they must be reaaalllly bad at it, since none of the major world powers have had a significant war in 40 years!
I think that's a bit odd to say, given the long term military campaigns of the USA and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last 1.5 decade or so, hence even excluding the first Iraq war. A single cruise missile costs around a million dollars, depending on the specific type.

Here I do not pass any judgement on those campaigns, just pointing out that they did take place and much of the West was involved, albeit far from home.
The wars going on right now are low cost, low tech, low profit.
Drones and other unmanned airborne weaponry seem quite high-tech to me. Probably their share of the defense budget in the West will only increase during the coming years.
 
  • #19
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
Krylov, the needed clarification there is that the US engagement in those wars (and indeed the size of the wars themselves) is not significant -- by historic standards. $1 M for a cruise missile, for example, is pretty much nothing

Yes, the most significant war since Vietnam was Gulf War I. It was tiny in comparison to previous wars: the previous 40 years saw three wars that killed tens or hundreds of times more people and cost tens or hundreds of times more money.

Regarding our wars and hight tech weaponry (and the US in general): you are missing the point: the US is not currently a significant contributor in any of the world's wars and in total since Vietnam has contributed very little overall.
[Edit] Clicking through the link in the OP, I see we do still have 10,000 troops in Afganistan. I'd argue that isn't "significant", but I don't think I was aware we still had any.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
I tend to really dislike threads like this because they generally apply the "war is terrible" mantra flatly; without any context or quantification. As a result they give the impression of implying that the world is unusually dangerous by historical standards, when in fact it is unusually safe.
 
  • #21
S.G. Janssens
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
1,223
818
I tend to really dislike threads like this because they generally apply the "war is terrible" mantra flatly; without any context or quantification. As a result they give the impression of implying that the world is unusually dangerous by historical standards, when in fact it is unusually safe.
I don't agree with you in this thread, but I don't agree with the "war is terrible" mantra either. It is more complex than that.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #22
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
Let's try to put a finer point on this:
I was wondering how much it would take to bring about world peace and started to look up some facts, to me it seems impossible with all these countries in conflict.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts
What exactly would satisfy you? Do you literally mean precisely zero war? Personally, I don't think that's realistically achievable nor particularly meaningful.

How about this: for all of recorded history, global war deaths ran from as little as about 1 per 100,000 population per year during "peacetime" (average of about 2) to 100 per 100,000 per year during "war" (average of about 50). Then starting in the 1990s, the peacetime war deaths rate dropped as low as 0.2 and the "wartime" death rate dropped to about 0.5. In other words, at the height of the worst wars of the past 20 years, the world was four times safer than during any sustained peacetime in previous human history - and compared to other "wartimes", about a hundred times safer.

The drop at the end of the cold war (really, it started after WWII, then plateaued for a bit) is so stark that in order to avoid having to say we're a rounding error away from complete world peace, the graphs have to be logarithmic:

ourworldindata_wars-long-run-military-civilian-fatalities-from-brecke1.png

http://ourworldindata.org/data/war-peace/war-and-peace-before-1945/ [Broken]
http://ourworldindata.org/data/war-peace/war-and-peace-after-1945/ [Broken]

There are a bunch of graphs on the site. I recommend perusing it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Likes phinds
  • #23
Rx7man
425
187
While I of course no conclusive evidence weapons companies are fomenting wars, it would be hard to imagine them being very much against it either, and have you ever seen any of their executives rallying for peace?.. Also, when you look at the connections between the Bush family and companies like Halliburton, etc, it just gives me reason to pause and wonder.
What the west is doing in the middle east I consider 'meddling'... We seem to be very good at replacing one dictator with another,... Arming one side of a conflict to later regret it and go to war against them, and for the most part we are making some very serious enemies in the process of gaining some pretty shallow friendships.
 
  • Like
Likes Sophia
  • #24
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
18,148
10,976
... in the process of gaining some pretty shallow friendships.
What friendships ?
 
  • #25
Rx7man
425
187
Yeah.. you're right.. it's probably none.. perhaps Israel?
 
  • #26
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,592
15,046
Also, when you look at the connections between the Bush family and companies like Halliburton, etc, it just gives me reason to pause and wonder.

This is not a very good argument.
  1. Haliburton is not an arms dealer.
  2. The private military contractor arm of Haliburton, KBR, was spun off a decade ago.
  3. Even when it was part of Halburton,it was less than 10% of their business.
Your argument seems to be to collect the things you don't like - war, Haliburton. the Bush family, arms dealers - and declare that there must be some relation between them.

Russ is right that the Pax Americana is one of the most peaceful times in history. If you look at the Wikipedia list, you will see "wars" that don't seem like wars (because the regular wars no longer exist, at least not the way they used to), like the Mexican Drug War. And for those who think it should be a war, why not consider organized crime in the US also a "war"? It had a comparable fatality rate.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes mheslep
  • #27
Rx7man
425
187
@Vanadium 50
While it is true that I don't possesses much sympathy in my heart for the aforementioned, I didn't really 'declare' anything.
I'm a skeptic, and I'm even skeptic of skeptics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halliburton
Some interesting reading there, and while there are some things that are allegations, they have pled guilty to bribery and destruction of evidence, And when the CEO is also the US vice president... I don't put it beyond them to do some backhanded deals.
 
  • #28
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
Some interesting reading there, and while there are some things that are allegations, they have pled guilty to bribery and destruction of evidence...
None of which has anything to do with profiting from arms trade/war.
And when the CEO is also the US vice president... I don't put it beyond them to do some backhanded deals..
Which, again, you have no evidence for and even if there were, they'd have little or nothing to do with weapons trade/war.

And:
While I of course no conclusive evidence weapons companies are fomenting wars, it would be hard to imagine them being very much against it either, and have you ever seen any of their executives rallying for peace?
Sure, and by that logic, since I have never seen Tim Cook at a peace rally either, we should assume Apple is secretly profiting from war. :rolleyes:

C'mon, this isn't even conspiracy theory, it is just fantasy.
 
  • #29
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
This is not a very good argument.
  1. Haliburton is not an arms dealer.
  2. The private military contractor arm of Haliburton, KBR, was spun off a decade ago.
  3. Even when it was part of Halburton,it was less than 10% of their business.
Not that I think it would matter much to this discussion, but...
4. My read of the wiki for KBR says they are an engineering/construction company, not a weapons company. Their bread and butter may be military construction contracting, but heck, most significant (and many insignificant) engineering companies have done at least some government/military work, including both I've worked for.

And we're really getting off track here. Again, (more for Rx7Man and several others), war is way down and currently the US is playing very little role in wars in the world - though it has in the past 13 years played a more significant role in what is considered "wartime" but bears little relation to previous "wars" in scope (it was just long). And even then, I'm not sure how this got to be about the US, but if you want to blame the US for selling weapons, you should at least also give us credit for causing them to be used far, far less than ever before in Western history.
 
Last edited:
  • #30
Rx7man
425
187
Profiting from war can be less direct than selling arms... Seems like Halliburton had been awarded some significant restoration projects in the gulf

Have you read anything from John Perkins? He describes lots of underhanded deals (in peacetime). Some people say his book is completely fictional...

It's all a chess game, and the big players are looking 8 moves ahead.
 
  • #31
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
4,808
2,090
I was wondering how much it would take to bring about world peace and started to look up some facts, to me it seems impossible with all these countries in conflict.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

It's obvious that there's no simple solution. There may not even be a complex one.

But I think that if there is, at its heart you need to find a way to convince people not to take up arms against each other. Wars occur because for whatever reason people collectively make a decision to use force or violence against others to achieve a specific goal.

In some cases that decision arises because the combatants have very little choice in the matter. You have (sometimes very young) people who have no education, no means of earning a living (and yet living in proximity to those who do), and no means to escape their circumstances. For them taking up arms is a means of survival. So to me, it would seem the most effective way to combat these circumstance is through economic and social means. I don't mean free handouts. I mean figuring out how to provide better options to those who don't have any. This is not an easy problem.

In some cases that decision arises because the combatants choose to (or are forced to) accept specific religious ideas. Some people are brought up with notions repeatedly drilled into their heads and chastised for questioning them. This life is temporary, or transitory. There are all-powerful deities (or deity). Those who do not follow that deity's commandments are doomed to suffer for eternity. When someone embraces such ideas, it opens the door to other more toxic ideas - that one group has a kind of moral authority over another,or that an individual can avoid responsibility for lethal actions, or that the decision to take up arms is mandated by scripture that cannot be questioned. This is another problem that is not easy to solve because as much as one might vilify religion, it also provides comfort in times of grief, it brings communities together, it permeates and even defines culture, it provides people with a sense of purpose, and it can steer people away from other undesirable behaviours. Because these are ideas they have to be challenged in the intellectual arena. I look at the Richard Dawkins', Sam Harris', Christopher Hitchens' of the world and though I may not agree with everything they say, I think they're on to something. But how do you debate with someone who does the intellectual equivalent of putting his hands on his ears and sings "la la la la!"

Building on those points you have social pressure. Some people do have a choice in the matter, but are subject to all sorts of pressures:
  1. A young man wants to prove himself to the world. (Not to exclude women from this either, but in general I don't think women face the same pressures as men do when it comes to self-definition.)
  2. Taking up arms to defend ones country, ideals, social group, etc. is reinforced positively within that group.
  3. When all of your friends take up machine guns do you really want to be the guy who refuses?
  4. Military recruitment videos are not designed to look uncool.
Solving this means taking a hard look at social and cultural pressures, and again these aren't black and white. A country needs to have an armed forces for many reasons. And sometimes the army with its rigid hierarchy and discipline, is a good place for people who need that kind of structure.

And then there is this idea of population pressure that suggests to an extent war is biological in nature and based on limited resources. I don't know how valid it is when you factor sentient decision making into the mix, but there's only so much oil in the world, only so much food, only so much real estate, etc. What separates that "haves" and the "have nots" is often defined by who can put up the bigger fight. Solving this one involves effectively mitigating those pressures.

And you can't forget the "crazy" factor. Some people actually ARE psychopathic or sociopathic. It's natural to assume and I think it holds true for the vast majority of people, that peace is the default state, that in absence of a specific cause we would all be peaceful. But there are some people for whom I'm not sure this is the case. That part of the brain that says "killing is bad" is somehow not functioning the way that it does in the rest of the population. Though rare, we have no guarantees that such people won't rise to positions of power and influence. I have no idea how to deal with this factor - but it probably starts with understanding.

Will we ever get there? I don't know.

But there's value in trying.
 
  • Like
Likes wolram, Sophia, HossamCFD and 1 other person
  • #32
Sophia
113
568
It's obvious that there's no simple solution. There may not even be a complex one.

But I think that if there is, at its heart you need to find a way to convince people not to take up arms against each other. Wars occur because for whatever reason people collectively make a decision to use force or violence against others to achieve a specific goal.

In some cases that decision arises because the combatants have very little choice in the matter. You have (sometimes very young) people who have no education, no means of earning a living (and yet living in proximity to those who do), and no means to escape their circumstances. For them taking up arms is a means of survival. So to me, it would seem the most effective way to combat these circumstance is through economic and social means. I don't mean free handouts. I mean figuring out how to provide better options to those who don't have any. This is not an easy problem.

In some cases that decision arises because the combatants choose to (or are forced to) accept specific religious ideas. Some people are brought up with notions repeatedly drilled into their heads and chastised for questioning them. This life is temporary, or transitory. There are all-powerful deities (or deity). Those who do not follow that deity's commandments are doomed to suffer for eternity. When someone embraces such ideas, it opens the door to other more toxic ideas - that one group has a kind of moral authority over another,or that an individual can avoid responsibility for lethal actions, or that the decision to take up arms is mandated by scripture that cannot be questioned. This is another problem that is not easy to solve because as much as one might vilify religion, it also provides comfort in times of grief, it brings communities together, it permeates and even defines culture, it provides people with a sense of purpose, and it can steer people away from other undesirable behaviours. Because these are ideas they have to be challenged in the intellectual arena. I look at the Richard Dawkins', Sam Harris', Christopher Hitchens' of the world and though I may not agree with everything they say, I think they're on to something. But how do you debate with someone who does the intellectual equivalent of putting his hands on his ears and sings "la la la la!"

Building on those points you have social pressure. Some people do have a choice in the matter, but are subject to all sorts of pressures:
  1. A young man wants to prove himself to the world. (Not to exclude women from this either, but in general I don't think women face the same pressures as men do when it comes to self-definition.)
  2. Taking up arms to defend ones country, ideals, social group, etc. is reinforced positively within that group.
  3. When all of your friends take up machine guns do you really want to be the guy who refuses?
  4. Military recruitment videos are not designed to look uncool.
Solving this means taking a hard look at social and cultural pressures, and again these aren't black and white. A country needs to have an armed forces for many reasons. And sometimes the army with its rigid hierarchy and discipline, is a good place for people who need that kind of structure.

And then there is this idea of population pressure that suggests to an extent war is biological in nature and based on limited resources. I don't know how valid it is when you factor sentient decision making into the mix, but there's only so much oil in the world, only so much food, only so much real estate, etc. What separates that "haves" and the "have nots" is often defined by who can put up the bigger fight. Solving this one involves effectively mitigating those pressures.

And you can't forget the "crazy" factor. Some people actually ARE psychopathic or sociopathic. It's natural to assume and I think it holds true for the vast majority of people, that peace is the default state, that in absence of a specific cause we would all be peaceful. But there are some people for whom I'm not sure this is the case. That part of the brain that says "killing is bad" is somehow not functioning the way that it does in the rest of the population. Though rare, we have no guarantees that such people won't rise to positions of power and influence. I have no idea how to deal with this factor - but it probably starts with understanding.

Will we ever get there? I don't know.

But there's value in trying.
That was a good analysis, Choppy.
 
  • #33
Hornbein
1,121
819
The Middle East conflicts aren't about religion. They are about wealth. In the Middle East land is wealth, and the war is about land. The Israelis kicked 300,000 peasants off of their land, impoverishing them, and keep the land by force of arms. The descendants of said peasants are trying to get the land and its wealth back. Religion has nothing to do with it.

The other big fuel of the fire is the desire to control/protect the oil supply, which is obviously not about religion. "The Iraq war is largely about oil," wrote Alan Greenspan.

World War II was largely about oil too. The Japanese surprise attack was all about protecting the oil they got from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

One of the main objectives of the German invasion of Russia was the Chechnya oil. In my opinion it was the main objective. That's why the key battle was at Stalingrad instead of Moscow. Stalingrad was necessary to protect the army's supply line on the drive to Chechnya. Look at a map. The supply line to Chechnya must turn a corner around the Sea of Azov, and Stalingrad threatens that pinch point.

That's why Chechnya was the only soviet not to break away from Russia. Though they tried hard, fighting a very nasty war. Russia won't let them go. It wants the wealth.

The Viet Nam/France war was about control of the Laotian opium crop. That's why the key battle was in Dien Bien Phu, on the border with Laos. It was all about money.

Ho Chi Minh knew this, so he organized the Viet Nam war to cost the US money. If the US decided that the war could never turn a profit, they would quit. It worked.

Ho got this idea from Alexander Hamilton, who brilliantly invented it during the American war of liberation from England. Hamilton knew that the Bank of England was the true ruler of that nation. So if the Continentals could convince the Bank that the war could not profit, it would be over. It worked back then too.

In Iraq forces have organized around religious figures, but I think that is because the army and government were destroyed by the Coalition of the Willing. Religious leaders were the only leaders remaining and religions the only national institutions capable of organizing resistance to the invasion. So it only appears to be a religious war.

How about the Crusades? You'd think that that would be a religious war. Maybe sometimes, but in one of the crusades the crusaders didn't even try to go to Jerusalem. They went to Constantinople instead because there was more loot there. It worked. They came back with a lot of it.

Sometimes I wonder if there ever really was a religious war. The whole Protestant reformation was about money. The Catholic Church was corrupt to the bone, and people resented having to pay them all that money to a bunch of phonies. The Catholic Church wasn't really a religion, it was a fraudulent multinational corporation and a lot of people knew it. The Thirty Years War was about factions fighting their way out of the grip of this extortion. The Church wanted to keep that wealth flowing in. They got their dupes to fight for them.

The Roman Empire was all about wealth. They didn't even pretend otherwise.

Did you know that the whole purpose of NATO is to protect the oil supply? That's what their charter reads. It's all about wealth. In this case it is about defending the source of wealth, not stealing it. But about wealth, nevertheless.
 
  • Like
Likes Rx7man
  • #34
Hornbein
1,121
819
http://ourworldindata.org/data/war-peace/war-and-peace-before-1945/ [Broken]
http://ourworldindata.org/data/war-peace/war-and-peace-after-1945/ [Broken]

There are a bunch of graphs on the site. I recommend perusing it.

I had no idea the Thirty Years War was that bad. It was worse than World War 1! Amazing.

Europe had a long period of -- well, it wasn't peace, but in those days war was quite limited, almost ritualized. You didn't attack the enemy at night, that kind of thing. There wasn't, err, uh, mass slaughter like now. So there was a lot of war, but it wasn't very destructive. Nothing compared to what we do now.

The barbarian invasions from the steppes were utterly ruthless and evil, but they didn't kill very many people. They won mostly through terrorizing their victims into obedience.

According to that graph most peaceful period is 1460 to 1490. We are at that level now, but we'll have to keep it up for thirty years to tie the record.

There's something funky about that graph, though. It says it is a "fifteen year moving average." Then we should be seeing rounded spikes instead of squared-off ones. That's fishy. Why is the 30-years war spike the same width as 4-year-long WWI? They have a strange idea of a moving average.

What's more, if you look at the graph the Thirty Years is worse than WWI, but if you look at the circles WWI is worse. ?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #35
gjonesy
263
182
The main profit from war is theft, but even that isn't very significant anymore. Most wars are matters of religious/ethnic hate, not profit. Theft and hate are what war has always been about.

Also social and political ideology.
 

Suggested for: World peace

  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
371
Replies
0
Views
265
Replies
32
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
501
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
684
Replies
1
Views
321
Replies
5
Views
749
Replies
1
Views
449
Replies
24
Views
1K
Top