World peace  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

World peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations. It is the professed ambition of many past and present world leaders. It is what Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality concedes to wish for.

Contents

See also

Definition

World peace is the utopian ideal of planetary non-violence by which nations cooperate, either voluntarily or by a system of governance that prevents warfare.

Some see a trend in national politics whereby city-states and nation-states have unified, and suggest that the international arena will follow suit. Many countries such as China, Italy, the United States, Germany have unified into single nation-states, with others like the European Union and African Union following suit, suggesting that further globalization will bring about a similarly unified world order.

Many interpretations of the concept are not like this, however. To some, world peace may simply mean the resolution of political conflicts through nonviolent means.

Plausibility

Although world peace is theoretically possible, many believe that it is impossible to achieve.

The plausibility of world peace tacitly relies on the assumption of rational agents that base their decisions on future consequences, which is not self-evident. Bertrand Russell once expressed his skepticism regarding world peace:

After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.

World peace theories

Many theories as to how world peace could be achieved have been proposed. Below are listed several ideas.

Various political ideologies

World peace is sometimes claimed to be the inevitable result of a certain political ideology. According to the President of the United States, George W. Bush: "The march of democracy will lead to world peace."

Leon Trotsky, a Marxist theorist, assumed that the world revolution would lead to a communist world peace.

The democratic peace theory

Proponents of the controversial democratic peace theory claim that strong empirical evidence exists that democracies never or rarely wage war against each other. Several researchers find no wars between well-established liberal democracies. Jack Levy (1988) made an oft-quoted assertion that the theory is "as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations".

An increasing number of nations have become democratic since the industrial revolution. A world peace may thus become possible if this trend continues and if the democratic peace theory is correct.

There are, however, several possible exceptions to this theory.

Cobdenism

Proponents of Cobdenism claim that by removing tariffs and creating international free trade, wars would become impossible, because free trade prevents a nation from becoming self-sufficient, which is a requirement for long wars. For example, if one country produces firearms and another produces ammunition, the two could not fight each other, because the former would be unable to procure ammunition and the latter would be unable to obtain weapons.

Critics argue that free trade does not prevent a nation from establishing some sort of emergency plan to become temporarily self-sufficient in case of war or that a nation could simply acquire what it needs from a different nation.

Mutual Assured Destruction

Mutual assured destruction (sometimes known as MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender.<ref>Mutual Assured Destruction; Col. Alan J. Parrington, USAF, Mutually Assured Destruction Revisited, Strategic Doctrine in Question, Airpower Journal, Winter 1997.</ref> Proponents of the policy of mutual assured destruction during the Cold War attributed this to the increase in the lethality of war to the point where it no longer offers the possibility of a net gain for either side, thereby making wars pointless.

Isolationism

Proponents of isolationism claim that a world made up of many nations can peacefully coexist as long as they each establish a stronger focus on domestic affairs and do not try to impose their will on other nations.

Nations like Japan are perhaps the best known for establishing isolationist policies in the past. The Japanese Edo, Tokugawa, initiated the Edo Period, an isolationist period where Japan cut itself off from the world as a whole. This is a well-known isolation period and well documented in many areas.

Self-organized peace

World Peace is seen as a consequence of local self-determined behaviors which inhibit the institutionalization of power and subsequent violence. The solution is not so much based on an agreed agenda, let alone investment in higher authority, whether divine or political, but rather a self-organized network of mutual supporting mechanisms whose emergent phenomenon is a sustainable politico-economic social fabric.

Dr. Frank Laubach, an American missionary to the Philippines in 1935 saw poverty, injustice and illiteracy as impediments to world peace.<ref> http://www.dreamscape.com/deborah/laubach/mission/FCL.htm</ref> He developed the "Each One Teach One" literacy program which taught about 60 million people to read in their own language.

Religious views of world peace

Bahá'í Faith

With specific regard to the pursuit of world peace, Bahá'u'lláh of the Bahá'í Faith prescribed a world-embracing Collective Security arrangement as necessary for the establishment of a lasting peace. The Universal House of Justice wrote about the process in The Promise of World Peace.

Buddhists

Many Buddhists believe that world peace can only be achieved if we first establish peace within our minds. Siddhārtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, said, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”<ref>Quote by Siddhārtha Gautama</ref> The idea is that anger and other negative states of mind are the cause of wars and fighting. They believe we can live in peace and harmony only if we abandon the anger in our minds and learn to love each other and practice altruism.

Christians

The basic Christian ideal promotes peace through goodwill and by sharing the Faith to others, as well as forgiving those who do try to break the peace. Jesus even went as far as to say these

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:44 - 45

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34-35

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:1-12. Often referred to as the Beautitudes, this is the start of the Sermon on the Mount.

Most, if not all, of Christ's doctrines are founded on peace between God and men, as in Christian Theology, Jesus was God who sought to reconcile God and man.

Drawbacks

Although world peace is seen by many as one of the key features of a utopia, it may still have some drawbacks.

Economic drawbacks

People around the world work in jobs directly or indirectly linked to the military. Without war and the threat of war, these jobs would become unnecessary.

In the United States the military offers benefits to soldiers, an example being $73,000 towards a college education for an active duty soldier under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Army College Fund. This can help to give working class citizens a chance to get a higher education, allowing for more economic mobility. Without war, the army would not be necessary and this benefit would not exist. Some people also look at the military as a fallback if they cannot join the workforce as an adult.Template:Fact The salary of a private in the United States Army is $15,000 per year for an active duty soldier. Without the jobs offered by the military, the economy could suffer.

In addition, many feel that World War II ended the Great Depression in the United States. The massive war spending doubled the Gross National Product, masking the effects of the Depression.Template:Fact Businessmen ignored the mounting national debt and heavy new taxes, redoubling their efforts for greater output to take advantage of generous government contracts. Most people worked overtime and gave up leisure activities to make money. This is an example of a time when war has benefited the economy.

However, war also has its economic drawbacks; it causes damage to infrastructure and human lives are lost. Wars are also known to cause immense inflationary pressures, as governments are required to borrow large sums of money to finance them, and often resort to printing more currency, causing the value of the currency to drop. The short-run frictional costs of inflation could also theoretically be avoided in a "world peace" scenario. Even peacetime military spending is very expensive. The money being spent on military personnel and hardware could instead be used for civilian jobs, infrastructure, and/or lower taxes.

Scientific drawbacks

Some people claim that wars help contribute to the research of new technologies and new ideas that have civilian applications, caused by the warring societies' need to maintain technological and military superiority over the other. As a counterargument, it can be argued that wars are enormously costly, and that spending the money instead solely on research would cause far more scientific progress.

Overpopulation

Because of overpopulation, world peace may fail because countries see it necessary to take natural resources in order to help their people. Lack of water and food could cause wars over lakes and fertile land just to feed the nation's people, thus causing a breakdown in world peace. The population of humans on earth currently exceeds 6.5 billion and is expected to become 9 billion by 2050. However, population growth is slowing due to the demographic transition.

See also


Further Reading




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "World peace" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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