For most of the twentieth century the most salient features of the international political-economy have been the chiaroscuro of international conflict and the panorama of economic growth. Any connections between them, suggested occasionally by observers since at least Aristotle, have seemed vague, intermittent, and probably situation-specific. Following centuries of epistemological tradition, modern analysts continue to note, and orthodox economic and political-scientific theories allow, some mildly causal, or at least stimulative, relationship between economic growth and international conflict. "Economic objectives, resources, and instruments of foreign policy have always been significant elements in the struggles between political groups." 1 Beyond broad aphorisms and intuitive assertions of this sort, and occasional interesting speculations about human nature, orthodoxy has simply accepted that some natural relationship exists between economic growth and international conflict. Secure within their own disciplines, historians, economists, and political scientists have largely ignored the cross-disciplinary question of how and why such a relationship works, or even what it is.
Beyond the obvious insight that there seem to be some parallels between politics and economics, between conflict and growth, or between trade and war, neither empiricism nor theory has produced general explanations of what those relationships are, or how they work. Only by combining, selecting, or compromising among various sets of data and integrating convenient bits of various theories has orthodoxy been able even to approach a weak, ambiguous, highly conditional generality, the same that was deduced three millennia ago by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (see sources in Notes to Chapter 2): growth could sometimes lead to war.
The ancients and the classicists seem to have been comfortable with this sort of vapid, ambiguous separation between the essential processes of international relations. Contemporary analysts and decision-makers, however, need more in confronting political-economic realities that confound traditional