By Joe White
The Growing Feasibility of 2020 A Year Without War.
Prof. Ian Morris, Stanford University, is the author of the recently published, “War! What is it Good For?” While war has been an historical constant for human beings, Prof. Morris argues that by the mid 21st century war may well be eliminated. Prof. Morris argues that there is an historical pattern of groups going to war with the winner then typically absorbing the loser and the resulting larger state then seeking internal pacification to ensure its own stability. As states have grown larger over history, the degree of violence individuals face has decreased quite significantly, according to Morris.
2020 A Year Without War believes Prof. Morris’s thesis can now be extended in the 21st century beyond the traditional geographical states to our fast evolving on-line global communities such as 2020 A Year Without War. Humanity can now come together in a global community to end war, for at least one year. Presently, most human beings do not live in war zones. Most people find other means of conflict resolution short of war. Now is our opportunity to extinguish the last of the stubborn war zones and choose not to create others. Human beings have developed and can develop sufficient means for the fair arbitration of inevitable conflict. For the first time in our history, we can build that global community, which Prof. Morris argues, history appears to now be headed toward, in which war is obsolete. Thus, in building our dedicated and engaged 2020 AYWW global community, the feasibility of 2020 being a year without war grows significantly, given Prof. Morris’s thesis.
Noma Bar, in The Washington Post , summarizes Prof. Morris’ thesis as follows,
“When looking upon the long run of history, it becomes clear that through 10,000 years of conflict, humanity has created larger, more organized societies that have greatly reduced the risk that their members will die violently. These better-organized societies also have created the conditions for higher living standards and economic growth. War has not only made us safer, but richer, too.
The world of the Stone Age, for instance, was a rough place; 10,000 years ago, if someone used force to settle an argument, he or she faced few constraints… By many estimates, 10 to 20 percent of all Stone Age humans died at the hands of other people.
This puts the past 100 years in perspective. Since 1914, we have endured world wars, genocides and government-sponsored famines, not to mention civil strife, riots and murders. Altogether, we have killed a staggering 100 million to 200 million of our own kind. But over the century, about 10 billion lives were lived — which means that just 1 to 2 percent of the world’s population died violently. Those lucky enough to be born in the 20th century were on average 10 times less likely to come to a grisly end than those born in the Stone Age. And since 2000, the United Nations tells us, the risk of violent death has fallen even further, to 0.7 percent… over 10,000 years, war made states, and states made peace.”
David Crane, in the Spectator, notes Morris’s qualified optimism given the large political states in the 21st century. “In Morris’s opinion the next three or four decades may be the most dangerous in human history. But if we do happen to survive… then that very biological predisposition to violence that has made us so good at cooperating, organizing, innovating and evolving in the pursuit of better ways of waging war and wielding power will finally put war out of business.”
2020 AYWW recognizes that war is not a natural disaster but a social disaster; it results from adults making choices. We can choose differently, as we already do pervasively, and recognize that war is an outdated, now irrational, mode of conflict resolution for both winners and losers in terms of both blood and capital. Together, WE can make 2020 a year without war. See also Prof. Steven Pinker’s similar historical findings regarding the historical trend in decreasing violence amongst humans.