Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Peace on Earth… thanks to Globalization

Dan Griswold at CATO explains why instances of war and conflict are steadily decreasing around the world (and please note all neo-cons, it has nothing to do with a big stick or some theory of preemption):
Many causes lie behind the good news -- the end of the Cold War and the spread
of democracy, among them -- but expanding trade and globalization appear to be
playing a major role. Far from stoking a "World on Fire," as one misguided American author has argued, growing commercial ties between nations have had a dampening effect on armed conflict and war, for three main reasons.
First, trade and globalization have reinforced the trend toward democracy, and democracies don't pick fights with each other. Freedom to trade nurtures democracy by expanding the middle class in globalizing countries and equipping people with tools of communication such as cell phones, satellite TV, and the Internet. With trade comes more travel, more contact with people in other countries, and more exposure to new ideas. Thanks in part to globalization, almost two thirds of the world's countries today are democracies -- a record high.

Second, as national economies become more integrated with each other, those nations have more to lose should war break out. War in a globalized world not only means human casualties and bigger government, but also ruptured trade and investment ties that impose lasting damage on the economy. In short, globalization has dramatically raised the economic cost of war.

Third, globalization allows nations to acquire wealth through production and trade rather than conquest of territory and resources. Increasingly, wealth is measured in terms of intellectual property, financial assets, and human capital. Those are assets that cannot be seized by armies. If people need resources outside their national borders, say oil or timber or farm products, they can acquire them peacefully by trading away what they can produce best at home.
Good stuff. Read the whole thing here. And, note to Bono:
Much of the political violence that remains in the world today is concentrated in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa -- the two regions of the world that are the least integrated into the global economy. Efforts to bring peace to those regions must include lowering their high barriers to trade, foreign investment, and domestic entrepreneurship.