Sunday, July 28, 2013

International wars

I have heard many times that the world that we live in is a much more dangerous place than before, that the number of international conflicts is much higher than last century.

The truth is that even if the WWII is ignored the number of conflicts since the end of the Cold War has been dramatically decreased.

The Systemicpeace website provides a great amount of data about the number of international conflicts. According to this data the turning point in the number of international conflicts was the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. 


Before the end of the Cold War, more and more countries were involved in armed conflicts. There were at least three factors involved for this increase, I reckon. The first factor is the end of colonialism and the wars of independence from metropolis. The second reason is the indirect confrontation between the two super powers (USA and USSR) in third parties´ territories like Angola, Namibia, Vietnam, Central America, Chile, Afghanistan,… And finally, the third reason is pure logic, the more countries there are in the world the more likely to see a conflict between two of them.

Why the huge drop after the end of the USSR? A part from the obvious political reason, economically, one country would only be involved in a conflict if what it takes from it is more than the investment needed. As the West has seen, invasions are very expensive and apparently the investment to stabilise countries after the war is even more expensive. But also, there’s a cost of opportunity, today land is not a big stake of GDP, instead information, innovation and creativity is and those do not need land. Moreover, international trade is greater than ever and a war would mean a huge loss for the two involved.

It may seem then that the need for economic growth was the reason behind the big drop in conflicts. However, both concepts are related to a third one. GDP is linked to freedom a higher freedom higher GDP and conflicts are negatively correlated to freedom:


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