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War: Good for Nothing

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In this new and excellent Learn Liberty [2] video, philosopher Peter Jaworski asks “What is war good for?”  Although he concedes that the set of justifiable wars isn’t empty, he rightly argues that the case for war should be held to an enormous burden of proof.  Almost all real-world wars are good for nothing – or worse.

I have only one objection to what Peter says in the video.  It’s a small objection – or, really, it’s an addition.  Countries whose peoples trade extensively with each other are less likely to go to war with each other not only because people in those countries don’t wish to disrupt the productive and mutually advantageous economic relationships they have with each other.  Countries whose peoples trade extensively with each other are less likely to go to war with each other also because these peoples together, through their trade with each other, become integrated into one larger society.

The more extensive is trade (and migration) across political boundaries, the less do political boundaries define social boundaries between the trading peoples.  For example, Americans and Canadians are highly unlikely to go to war with each other not only – indeed, not even chiefly – because neither Americans nor Canadians wish to disrupt the mutually advantageous economic arrangements that now unite them.  Americans and Canadians are highly unlikely to go to war with each other because, in fact, Americans and Canadians – even (if somewhat less so) the Quebecois – are really part of the same society.

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