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WarWars are a gigantic waste of our standards of living. They literally destroy our wellbeing during such events and many decades after. But as we have seen in the article Lets Play War, it also happens that even if wars are never actually fought they also keep destroying our wellbeing by syphoning out our wealth into "defense budgets". They literally annihilate vast amounts of capital on a continuous basis without pause. This capital could be dedicated to make our lives better through the actions of free markets but it is instead wasted in the process of creating destructive systems.

HISTORY

As amateur historians we strive to maintain a sense of history as there is wisdom in it. As such, when history points towards a specific direction, we follow it. Some time ago, we provided data demonstrating that guns are far, far more dangerous and destructive in government hands than in people's hands (see Weapons Are Dangerous Particularly In Government Hands).

Just yesterday we showed you how governments have been constantly increasing their military budgets far beyond their economic capacities through the convenient and expedient method of borrowing (see Lets Play War).

Now we are going to apply a little bit of basic logic. Here we have the countries of earth commanded by selfish maniacs (politicians) who have proven time and time again to be exceptionally dangerous with weapons. If to this situation we add the fact that they have access to plenty of money to purchase military means what do you think it is going to happen next? Let's see.

We have people with the means, the excuses and the opportunity to use military power. Wouldn't you say that they will use such power?

Correct!

Take a look at the graph below. It is a historical record of the number of wars that occurred over the last 1000 or so years.

Wars in History

There are several interesting features of this graph worth mentioning.

Trends

As you can see the first 800 or so years were more or less uneventful. Yes, there were wars but with the exception of the peak during the 1600's things were more or less smooth and constant.

From this, it is clear that little changed despite the fact that technological advancements and population increased geometrically during those years by approximately 400%.

However, after the 1800's there is a clear break with the existing trend. The number of wars skyrocketed by approximately 500% in only a few years!!!

If we now isolate from the previous graph the years 1800 to today, re-plot and calculate the trend value we get:

Wars in recent history

Which indicates that over the last 200+ years the number of wars have increased at an approximate rate of 6 more every 100 years. If we redo this calculation between the years 1000 and 1800, we get a  rate of increase of only 1 new war per 100 years. This means that the number of additional new wars jumped from 1 to 6 (a 600% increase) starting in or about the 1800's.

Furthermore, it is clearly noticeable that past the 1800's the number of wars began to fluctuate widely while before they were more or less stable and smooth. This means that beginning with the 1800's there was a gigantic increase in the number of wars but also that life on this planet became much more unstable and unpredictable.

Note: our data is not comprehensive nor error-free, however it is a good dataset. More importantly, the 1800's transition is quite clear since we have good historical information starting with the renaissance in or about 1400's.

Why the 1800's?

But why the 1800's? What's different in the 1800's? One thing and only one thing: a large political evolution from monarchical systems to modern democratic systems. Beyond the 1800's most countries on earth began to shed its monarchs (or make them irrelevant) and to create so-called "representative" political systems. Although this change began earlier, it became massive past the 1800's.

And what's unique about those systems?

That they are all based on selfish politicians who now had access to virtually unlimited funds thanks to fiat money printing. This source of new so-called "wealth" is the main enabler of modern wars. What was not possible in the past was now not only achievable but achievable with ease. Before the 1800's the false "gold standard" prevented the printing of fiat money beyond a certain limit. Any country attempting to initiate wars based solely on fiat money would find itself economically bankrupt rather quickly, which prevented the waging of such wars (soldiers tend not to fight for free and without weapons). Country default was, at the time, a common occurrence because of the limitless printing that many countries practiced. Essentially, they printed themselves out of wars.

However, after the 1800's the false "gold standard" became less and less relevant as people began to use fiat money instead of gold, which made the false "gold standard" less relevant since exchange in species dropped in demand. If your fiat money was eaten away by inflation, all you had to do is to exchange it for the fiat money from other country which was not so afflicted by inflation. Yes, gold and silver were still in use but progressively less. This enabled governments to print more and as such to support military endeavours with ease. This is so because printing favours the (official) counterfeiter who can spend the money at face value; this is, the government (see Fake Money For A Fake Economy).

Aggression

As you can see the development and implementation of modern democracies brought with it all its defects which became active immediately. One of such defect was the enablement of wars. And so, paradoxically enough, governments "of the people, by the people and for the people" became at least 6 times more aggressive than their predecessors.

CONCLUSION

Most people believe that modern democracies are the solution, they are not. They are the problem. Modern democracies are more aggressive and willing and able to use wars to try to achieve their objectives. Are you in favour of modern democracies? Are you OK with politicians increasingly waging war in your name? Though so.

Or, maybe you believe in the old saying that "a good offense is the best defense" and so politicians do represent you. Good to know.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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