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June 06, 2002

War and Globalization

Today's Times notes fears in India that recent success in Software will be setback by war talk with Pakistan. Just as similiar conflict has undermined Israel's economy, previously riding high on tech trade and tourism.
...Folks like Thomas Friedman have made much of the idea that globalization makes peace too profitable to allow war. While there is truth in the idea of trade as a good thing in promoting peace, the odd thing about the argument is the fact that families willing to send their children off to die are usually willing to experience some economic sacrifice.
...So this kind of argument actually has more to do with the role of the elite business class. In closed economies, they often do as well or better through war profiteering, so often are war cheerleaders. With global trade, they often have far more to lose from war, so as with Indian software leaders, they become a new constituency for peace. It is a measure of the corruptions of democracy that the opinions of such business leaders are so important in the calculations of peace and war, rather than the need to address the desperation and poverty that drive so much of it from the grassroots.

Posted by Nathan at June 6, 2002 09:36 AM


You know, I seem to recall from a long ago history class that economic interdependence and the vast amounts of wealth a general war could consume were among the reasons the war that was later known as the First World War would be avoided, or at least not last very long. I hope the globalization leads to peace folks are more right than their great grandfathers.

Posted by: etc. at June 7, 2002 01:32 AM

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