An Empirical Approach
The causes of growth and conflict remain subjects of formidable research, but are of only incidental interest to this study, which deals specifically and only with the relationship between them: occurrence of rapid, sustained economic growth as an independent variable, and incidence of international conflict as a dependent variable. A perhaps implicit premise, which rejects the classical realist position, is that some relationship between growth and conflict does indeed exist, and can be discerned. The aim of the research is to identify any lawlike regularities that may exist in the relationship between international conflict and modern economic growth (see Appendix N). An additional desirable result would be any predictions about manipulating the variables for best efficiency in achieving desired policy effects; this result would arise from evaluating various elements of the variables for their individual power.
The analysis accepts growth and conflict as separate phenomena arising from causes that are presumed to operate whenever either phenomenon occurs. Causality may indeed flow through the relationship, and a set of robust lawlike regularities may even imply causality. Any investigation, analysis, or determination of such causality is, however, beyond the scope, depth, and intent of this research.
The analysis does not assume that any particular set of political-economic conditions determines the nature of the relationship. Any lawlike regularities would hold as powerfully in a world dominated by war as in a world of peace and prosperity. Nor does the analysis consciously include normative concepts of growth or conflict: neither is inherently good or bad, nor always a preferred policy goal.
To achieve generality commensurate with the concept of lawlike regularities, the analysis addresses long periods that span various sets of political-economic conditions, and enough countries to avoid artifacts of purely