Economic Interdependence Globalization And The Causes Of War Politics Essay

This paper will reexamine academic literature in the country of international security in order to find the relationship between economic and political factors and their impact on the happening, grade of badness, and impact of military struggles. Literature will be presented harmonizing to several subjects, including economic motivations for international struggle ; the relationship between economic mutuality and political confederations ; and the positive and negative effects of economic “ globalisation. ”

Economic Motivations For International Conflict

In analyzing the literature presented in Conflict After the Cold War by Betts, several historical and modern-day positions of the pertinence of economic factors to the consideration of political waies to war. Angell ( in Betts 271-272 evaluates the cardinal motivations of international struggle and the consequence of economic considerations on the chance of future wars by raising the statement that great powers have passed a degree of political and economic development which will no longer let for dearly-won and monolithic wars. Sing this was written in 1913, merely prior to the eruption of World War I, one must raise serious concerns as to the cogency of the statements made by Angell in this paper. By saying that wealth is a factor of the interactivity between states in footings of fiscal capital ( through recognition and commercial contract ) , and his illation that the degree of economic interactivity between states has made war impractical and dearly-won, Angell is raising an statement that seems to run through a great trade of the literature presented in this hebdomad ‘s readings: that is, political systems have evolved to a point where war is unneeded from a political and economic position.

We see similar statements raised by Blainey ( in Betts 273-280 ) where he argues that modern machinery, transit and systems of trade have interconnected states to such a grade that states began to follow the “ Manchester Gospel. ” Yet, as Blainey observes, war did non stop. Conflicts between states increased by 1914 and by the mid to late 1930s, war seemed inevitable once more on a planetary graduated table. The inquiry so becomes – Why did n’t merchandise and economic interactivity alleviate or at least extenuate the causes and results of both World War I and World War II? As Blainey continues to reason, we must inquire ourselves – is peace an consequence of mutuality and commercialism or is that an “ optimistic appraisal? ” He would reason that the grounds of a cause/effect relationship between peace and economic interrelatedness is missing. His ultimate statement ( as recognition to Boulding ) is that “ Threat systems ‘are the footing of political relations as exchange systems ” and therefore a democratic state depends on menaces and force ( either economic, political, or both ) . In world, the peaceable economic and political conditions which some democratic states ( such as the United States and Great Britain ) have experienced is more an consequence of “ the military security which the ocean provided. ” This statement correlates good with the Arguments that Mearsheimer makes in his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics ( 2001 ) .

Further historical scrutiny of the relationship between economic motivations and struggle are considered by Lenin in his paper “ Imperialism, the Highest Phase of Capitalism ” ( in Betts 281-287 ) . In this paper, Lenin argues that imperialism is the highest of several evolutionary phases which capitalist societies undergo on their quest towards wealth. In his statement, the evolutionary procedure of capitalist economy consequences from the increasing pursuit for economic monopolies at a regional and finally planetary degree. Any net incomes obtained by capitalist states are instantly distributed among the rich and fail to positively impact the lives of the hapless and working category citizens. The quest for imperialistic retentions ( land and resources ) and the motion towards planetary monopolies are seen by Lenin as the roots of future struggle. While Lenin ‘s positions have been badly criticized and the economic wars predicted by Lenin ( taking to the rise of the labor ) have non yet occurred, Lenin does hold an intuitive apprehension of the implicit in motivation factors of economic sciences. Therefore, this reading has direct pertinence to the apprehension of how economic factors can actuate states to come in into wars and/or chorus from intensifying struggles into wars.

Trade, Alliances, and Preferential Agreements

Expanding on the research presented therefore far, we see extra theories related to the development of economic and political confederations. This treatment is the polar underpinning of Mansfield and Bronson, who analyze what consequence political confederations and discriminatory trading agreements have on the bilateral flow of trade. This research survey found that the independent political and economic effects/externalities achieved from political confederations or discriminatory trading understandings are outweighed by the interactive/synergistic benefits obtained by uniting the two. It is the interaction between confederations and discriminatory trading agreements that explains forms of bilateral trade much more wholly than the independent effects of each. Some other findings in this research survey are: ( 1 ) unfastened trade is much more likely to germinate among Alliess than among antagonists ; ( 2 ) trade among Alliess is likely to heighten the security of all parties ; ( 3 ) the additions from trade accrue to provinces with common security ends and beef up the overall political-military power of an confederation. When analyzing unfastened trade among antagonists, the Mansfield and Bronson observed negative security outwardnesss ( Internet Explorer. decreased overall security of all parties ) and self-contradictory effects on province security ( Internet Explorer. trade between antagonists decreases one province ‘s security and long pillow ‘s the security of the other. They besides observed that private bargainers and investors have inducements to move in a mode consistent with governmental policies and a negative correlativity between trade barriers and local monetary values ( taking to a lessening in overall economic growing at a domestic degree. Given that states are more likely to enforce trade barriers on antagonists than Alliess, it is observed that discriminatory trade between allied states has a more positive economic consequence. This is peculiarly true of political confederations and trade understandings between great powers who are besides allied states. Further experimental research seems to back up this hypothesis. The writers would see this research ( peculiarly when applied to merchandise between the United States and China ) as promoting the outlook that positive confederations, discriminatory trade agreements, and increased synergistic trade between great powers should hold a positive consequence in discouraging future struggle. One could see this as back uping the optimistic positions of Angell. If so, we still must inquire – why, given the figure of confederations and trade agreements of the twenty-four hours ( 1913-1914 ) did planetary struggle still happen?

Rosncrance approaches this inquiry from the same position of pragmatism described by Mearsheimer. In his position, it is the demand for district and resources that still motivate states to come in into armed struggle. As illustrations, he cites the oil crisis of 1973-1980 in which the demand to command the supply and handiness of oil led to internal treatments as to the possibility of utilizing military force to recover control of foreign oil ( peculiarly in Saudi Arabia ) . He argues that territorial addition is the lone means of progressing a state ‘s involvement and that a war for territorial addition is peculiarly unsafe in a post-nuclear age. He sees the growing of planetary mutuality as the lone manner to extenuate the desire to get and command district, and thereby to extenuate the opportunity for struggle. As the figure of independent states rises, the statement is made that the degree of economic mutuality will besides lift as smaller states must do confederations and discriminatory trade understandings with stronger states ( Internet Explorer. regional hegemons ) in order to get the natural resources and political security necessary to last. Thus, globalisation and economic mutuality should take to less struggle and greater economic benefit to all states. As the figure of trade agreements, confederations, and grade of globalized trade additions, positive outwardnesss should be the consequence. As we will see in the documents by Boehmer and Sobek and Gartzke, Li, and Boehmer, these outwardnesss ( if taking to economic development and prosperity ) should hold a positive leaning towards peaceable coexistence and a negative correlativity with armed struggle.

Economic Interdependence, Globalization, and the Probability of Military Conflict

As mentioned antecedently, most governments take a additive “ development ” attack to the inquiry of economic development and its correlativity to militarized struggle. Yet Boehmer and Sobek take a alone attack to the inquiry. In their research plan, they have hypothesized and confirmed a non-linear “ upside-down U ” shaped functional relationship between economic development and international struggle. In their research, they have isolated a point ( identified as an vertex ) at which the chance of armed struggle reaches a upper limit and so begins to worsen. If one assumes three phases of economic development, we would see that the point at which a developing province reaches a degree of economic development in which it has sufficient wealth ( chance ) and industrialisation ( proxied for willingness ) , the chance of war additions greatly. As industrial capital is converted to fiscal capital and as a state develops more mutualist trade relationships, the chance of struggle lessenings ( as the fringy public-service corporation of struggle in comparing to the costs of such struggle reciprocally change – Internet Explorer. public-service corporation becomes less and costs addition ) . Therefore, we see a justification for the economic development of states in the “ adolescent phase ” so as to minimise the leaning towards struggle. This involves a alteration from an industrial economic system to a service-based and fiscal capital-based economic system. If we compare this research to others in the field, we can see that the “ adolescent phase ” of economic development is truly where the necessity for land and resources exists ( as a state becomes more industrialised ) . This would so corroborate ( to an extent ) research by such governments as Mearsheimer and Rosecrance who argue that territorial differences are most likely to take to conflict.

Gartzke, Li, and Boehmer farther approach this line of research by analyzing the economic costs of an armed struggle vs. the benefits of territorial acquisition and confilict. In their theoretical account, economic exchanges and understandings can be used as a agency of “ signaling ” otherwise private information such as purpose, willingness, and decide in a difference in order to relieve the chance of armed military zke, Erik, struggle. If economic mutuality between states is great, many such signals will be and the chance of miscommunication and struggle will diminish. Therefore, mutuality is seen as being of benefit to all parties involved and has a stifling consequence on the chance of armed struggle. This would look to match with observations made by other writers within the field who have argued that the degree of economic mutuality is extremely correlated to the degree of peaceable declaration and bargaining. Given that bargaining is a agency of turning the zero-sum game of war into a multilevel game where benefits and costs are seen by both parties, the research included in this paper would bespeak that struggle is non inevitable if economic exchanges can be used as a agency of extenuating a difference in an option that does n’t include armed struggle.


This paper has evaluated and analyzed the readings of several experts in the field of international security so as to understand the relationship between economic sciences and struggle. We have seen that, all other things being equal, economic mutuality and development have positive impacts on the results of possible struggle and that a options do be to military exchange in a universe of globalisation and economic mutuality.