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PostPolitics, Economics, and Peace (Robert Whealey, USA, 03/10/13 4:44 am)
When responding to Cameron Sawyer's post of 5 March, JE wrote: "I'll stand corrected on my US-China comment. By 'unnatural peace,' I was trying to say that China and the US have vastly different political systems and a rivalry for Pacific hegemony. These types of factors lead nations to conflict--but not (and that was my main point) when their economies are so interconnected."
This is fundamentally weak logic. This philosophical problem begins in the 1880s, when Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, etc., set up two PhD programs in economics and political science. Oxford in 1956 had a basic degree called PPE, Politics, Philosophy, & Economics. The advisers to the Prime Minister are better integrated.
The great economists, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes, all taught "political economy." American lawyers who got a degree from an Ivy League or Big Ten School, all had to have two or more courses in Constitutional Law. The State Department has an Economic Adviser.
If the US and China return to a period tension like the 1950-1973 period, the causes of possible military action will have both economic and political causes. Historians of the balance of power system already understood the problem of war and restoring peace, which is normal since 1648. A third cause of all wars has been implicit in the concept of religion and ideology. Wars are caused by ill-educated hack politicians who confuse an ideological problem with political or an economic problem.
JE comments: Fuzzy logic is my specialty!
Seriously now, I think Robert Whealey and I are on the same page. War invariably has political and economic causes. My (weakly argued...ouch) point about China is that we are on different planets when it comes to politics, but our economies are so connected that an armed conflict is unthinkable. In brief: why would China go to war when we owe them so much money? It's no longer possible to occupy a nation and exact tribute. And how could the US fight a war against the nation that makes our shoes, toys, and our soldiers' uniforms?