Wars steadily increase since the 19th century

6 posts

Bob Dylan Roof
Via Roithy

The traditionally "bourgeois" incentives of security and prosperity are not strong enough to reverse the tendency of political power to expand.


The research also confirms the aristocratic liberal line of criticism running through Jacob Burkhardt, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Eric Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, and Hoppe. Democratic legitimacy frees the state from the fetters of private economic calculation and class consciousness by eliminating the distinction between ruler and ruled, owner and owned. It is only when every managerial program and political decision can be ascribed to the will of the people that the state is truly free from the checks and balances provided by religion, private ownership, and caste distinctions. The expansive logic of the modern state can then proceed to empty the public coffers and pursue the countless wars it has always aspired to start. (see http://saloforum.com/index.php?thre...tionship-between-absolutism-and-equality.436/ )

President Camacho
This is important, and the tendency can be traced back to England's ascendancy throughout the 18th century thanks largely to the creation of the Bank Of England. Whereas Louis XIV, for example, was personally liable for his debts to the Rothschilds and other financiers, the BoA helped insulate the political class from the consequences of spending public funds.
Bob Dylan Roof

Curiously, there were only a few absolutist experiments with a pure fiat currency, and most of them seem to have ended in financial disaster, like the Mississippi Bubble. A king in control of a fiat currency would have to back the national debt with the productivity of his own property, and ultimately, the productivity of his tax base. A monarchy's unreliable capacity to impose burdensome taxes on its subjects may explain the absence of successful fiat systems in the age of absolutism.


That is really exciting on a statistical level, but I find as often in statistics that it would be interesting to read of how those scientists define the concept of war: the idea of "pairwise conflict" seems a bit biased to my uneducated eye. Can we really count a minor skirmish on the same scale as a world war? And what about ongoing conflicts that last for decades? Israelo-palestinian for example? It seems to me that the post-colonial type of war would be challenging to effectively compare to pre-Crimea conflicts for example.
As for ethnic conflicts in the developing world (which certainly represent a large part of today's wars) I am inclined to think that the spread of information technology might have exacerbated a sense of ethnic or local identity spreading conflicts that were less likely to happen before.


War is not the problem, and never has been, that people paint it. It usually costs few lives and little money. Car accidents claim more.
We only fixate on war because it captures the imagination with theatrical action, drama, adventure, politics... and the requirement that humans intentionally kill humans makes it an immediate moral case in a way disease (the real killer) doesn't.

Bob Dylan Roof
In terms of death counts, the age of democracy has far surpassed any other epoch. I agree that the recent boutique wars are fairly bloodless for western powers, but certainly not for the populations on the receiving end of freedom.

And yes, war captures the imagination more than AIDS, cancer, or car accidents because it is the most extreme type of human interaction: it is an ever-present possibility that governs nearly every decision made by political groups.