The Economic Basis of Peace: Linkages between Economic Growth and International Conflict

By William H. Mott IV | Go to book overview
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Preface

This is not a book about economic growth, prosperity, or wealth. Nor is it a book about international conflict, peace, or war. It is a book about the relationship between these two most salient features of the global human experience in recent times: economic growth and international conflict. It begins with an essay in comparative political-economic history, and shifts in Chapter 3 to a survey of theoretical approaches--or indifference--to any growth-conflict relationship. The final section is an effort to pool comparative and historical analyses of how or whether economic performances of several selected countries can be related to their international conflict behaviors.

The unusual nature and form of this book calls for some explanation. Reflecting my deep interest in the conjunctions between the orthodox domains of politics and economics, this book had its genesis in the years 1981-1986, which I spent as Chief of the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation in London. My duties involved me deeply in both government efforts to avoid and pursue international conflict and the actions of industry that generated economic growth. Both sectors agreed generally on broad goals of avoiding conflict and promoting growth and each pursued its own course, usually trying to avoid the other. Yet both industry and government were quite ready on some occasions to cooperate in sacrificing both peace and growth (the Falklands War occurred in 1982). So long as politics and economics remained visibly separate, government and industry might follow their own independent paths toward peace and prosperity. When, however, politics and economics merged or mixed (as in war), growth and conflict also changed, as did policy--both government and corporate.

The international order in which I had spent my career had historically isolated economic growth as a purely national phenomenon--the business of industry, while dealing with conflict as an international dynamic--the business of government. These bifurcations may have been taxonomically suitable, realistic, and effective in explaining the world in which economists and

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