Is War becoming less frequent?
Nations have been going to war against other nations since before recorded history. There have been periods of peace, and then periods of war. As our societies become more advanced, do they become more civilized, does war decrease as less destructive ways are found to settle differences? Interesting research by Ohio State University sheds light on this.
While some researchers have claimed that war between nations is in decline, a new analysis by Bear Braumoeller, associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University suggests we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate a more peaceful world. The study finds that there is no clear trend indicating that nations are less eager to wage war.
Conflict does appear to be less common than it had been in the past, he said. But that's due more to an inability to fight than to an unwillingness to do so.
"As empires fragment, the world has split up into countries that are smaller, weaker and farther apart, so they are less able to fight each other," Braumoeller said.
"Once you control for their ability to fight each other, the proclivity to go to war hasn't really changed over the last two centuries."
Braumoeller presented his research Aug. 29 in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.
Several researchers have claimed in recent years that war is in decline, most notably Steven Pinker in his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
As evidence, Pinker points to a decline in war deaths per capita. But Braumoeller said he believes that is a flawed measure.
"That accurately reflects the average citizen's risk from death in war, but countries' calculations in war are more complicated than that," he said.
Moreover, since population grows exponentially, it would be hard for war deaths to keep up with the booming number of people in the world.
WWII re-enactment battle photo via Shutterstock.
Read more at Ohio State University.