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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5
A Quandary and a Conjecture

Crude analysis of the empirical record confirms the existence and power of the conjunct growth-conflict relationship, and indicates some significant regularities about its nature along several dimensions. The disjoined relationships show significantly finer resolution and more details, especially along the "effects" dimension. In disclosing a large portion of the political-economic theory of the dynamics between economic growth and international conflict, which is the object of this study, disjunction, however, creates its own dilemma of determining which growth-conflict relationship is relevant, why it is active, and what to do about it.

The puzzling near-equal salience (89 direct and 85 inverse) and confidence (2.7% high-direct, 26.4% low-direct, 26.4% high-inverse, 22.4% low-inverse) for each of the two distinct effects (see Table 4.2) seems to imply almost random selection of inverse or direct effects of growth. The inherent power of the growth-conflict relationship (mean correlation coefficient is 0.58), however, drastically weakens this conclusion. In combination with this quandary, the pervasive dominance of the relationship by the pair of growth-rate variables suggests that the dual growth-conflict relationships arise from separate sources: two fundamentally different types of growth (see Appendix M).

The premise for disjunction of the growth process is that the two different effects observed (direct, inverse) are not simply dimensional aspects, or randomly selected results, of a simple homogeneous growth process. Rather, they arise from separate growth-conflict relationships, each the result of a distinct associated type of growth. Recognition of two types of growth allows association of each through only one GCR either directly to a positive effect or inversely to a negative effect. Intuitively, disjunction of the growth process would seem useful, not only in strengthening the regression model, but, most importantly, in completing the logical syllogism involving growth and conflict

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