Does protectionism automatically increase the risk of war ?
It is a 'given' of much of the discussion about the relative merits of Protectionism and Free Trade that the former is a 'bad thing' because it leads to conflict and war while the latter is consistent with peace and harmony. The examples cited to support this argument are usually taken from the 1930s and the run upto World War 2. Most debates ignore the rather inconvenient truth that World War 1 broke out in a global economy where Free Trade was the norm.
My thoughts were turned to this subject after reading Lawrence Keeleys book War Before Civilisation which pointed out the rather interesting fact that primitive societies that traded with each other frequently were far more likely to wage war on each other than those that did not. Keeleys analysis of war in these tribal environments showed that in many respects the phenomenon was not that different from that conducted between modern states. This has left me wondering whether the same triggers might apply. If this is true then our fetish with Free Trade makes a future global war more not less likely. It is often argued that it was the presence of nuclear weapons by both super powers that prevented the Cold War from escalating into a World War. I an now left pondering whether it might also have been due to the fact that the Communist and Capitalist blocks actually did not trade that much. Certainly the evidence suggests that since unfettered Free Trade became more dominant post the Soviet collapse that war had become more common. Does this mean a future global war is now more likely ?.
Edited by stormymonday_2011, 17 February 2012 - 04:04 AM.