Re: Bad Trend in War

Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 16:14:09 MDT

Robin writes:
> The chart:
> in
> shows a bad long term trend. I sure hope it has changed lately.

That is a sobering figure. War related deaths in the 20th century running
about 110 million, almost three times the per-capita figures of the 17th,
18th, and 19th centuries.

The authors show a correlation between countries with high percentages
of young men and countries with a warlike record today. This probably
doesn't work too well across the centuries, as I am assuming that the
shorter lifespans of the past would have put more people in the young

It's not clear that it is causative either in today's world, as there
is are obvious geographic and cultural connections among the third
world countries with many young people, beyond just their demographic
similarities. Uganda has more in common with Rwanda than with Sweden
any way you look at it.

The figures I found for warfare were about 50 million deaths (military and
civilian) in WWII, and about 20 million for WWI. This leaves 40 million
unaccounted for in the chart. If you include the Russian revolution and
the Stalinist purges, that could account for the bulk of the remainder,
although the latter would probably not be considered war related.

Libertarians tend to say, "wars are caused by governments," and that is
the end of the analysis. This is too simplistic: governments have been
around for a long time, but here we have a big increase in warfare in
the past 100 years.

It is perhaps encouraging that at least 70% of the deaths occured in
the first half of the century, despite the population being twice as
high in the 2nd half on average. Perhaps that will turn out to have
been the peak and now we are on a downslope towards historical levels.


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