Recipient of a Values & Capitalism mini-grant, the Houghton Star (the student newspaper of Houghton College) published its first “Two Views” page last Friday. Two student writers with differing opinions answered the question: “Would widespread economic and political freedom create global peace?”
Sarah Slater: “I do believe that…freedoms are beneficial and necessary for a country to live well. But they are not enough.”
[I]t is possible that the more or less widespread global peace we in the democratic nations of the world have been experiencing is a fluke in the annals of history. The reasons that global peace might not be sustainable even with widespread global economic and political freedom come down to the age-old reasons for conflict which currently democratic and economically free governments have at the moment been able to avoid—land and the resources associated with land.
Sarah Hutchinson: “Evidence exists that…these freedoms increase global peace and contribute to the capacity of people to behave nonviolently.”
Increased globalization and the dependency between economies that practice economic freedom also create situations in which the desire for peace outweighs the desire for conflict. Conflict can interrupt trade between nations, the production of goods, and the transactions between consumers and producers which encourages these economies to refrain from war. This argument rests on a cost-benefit analysis between the costs of war and the benefits of peace.