What It All Means
In seeking to explain the absence of conflict as modern countries experienced sustained rapid aggregate economic growth, history had little to offer beyond broad anecdotes suggesting that over decades or centuries growth and conflict had been known to occur together. Theory showed far more variety, and offered several explanations for several sorts of growth-conflict relationships. Many were trade-related, and the most sophisticated included both growth and conflict among larger sets of independent and dependent variables. All considered economic growth as a homogeneous, aggregate process, affecting and affected by many other political and economic variables. The reality, power, and dual nature of the growth-conflict relationship, about which so many historians and theoreticians have speculated, became clearer with some nomothetic analysis of the empirical record (see section "A' Speculative' Profile of Growth and Conflict" in chapter 4).
Despite the ambiguity of both history and theory about any relationships between growth and conflict, analysis of the empirical data has clearly shown that growth and conflict occur more often together than either occurs alone. Equally clear are the reality and power of two distinct growth-conflict relationships: direct and inverse. Even though the characteristics of aggregate growth and the nature of conflict vary across countries and over time, the dual effects on international conflict of the growth process itself seem regular and powerful. Slightly more powerful, and somewhat slower, are the dual effects of conflict on growth. Although not the only influence, economic growth clearly exerts significant inverse-negative pressure on international conflict, primarily through rates of growth. Paradoxically, however, growth can also exert a somewhat weaker direct-positive stimulus on conflict through levels of