Peace seekers have no plan
for enduring peace

Peace seekers got us out of Vietnam. But they did not stop carnage in Cambodia, Lebanon, Chechnya, Bosnia, Philippines, East Timor, Pakistan, India, Rwanda, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Today, pseace seekers have not kept us out of Iraq.

Part of their failure may result from a faulty perception of what increases or decreases conflict. Where, peace seekers have acted as if conflict is caused by bad leadership maybe they should have acted as if trends in conflict are driven by trends in scarcity. Maybe they would have been more successful if they acted as if trends in scarcity are driven by the collective behaviors of 6 billion people. That while each individual acts benignly to achieve personal objectives the unintentional result is an increase in scarcity and conflict.

This takes the whole past peace seekers model of activity and suggests that they should have put their efforts elsewhere. They should have been expending their efforts to get ALL the six billion to see normal benign behavior begets the conflict no one wants.

Peace seekers might help people to understand that the expectations that the lives of their children will be better than the present is only partly true. Only a portion of the six billion will experience better, infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and communication. An ever growing portion will experience, scarcity,and lose of wellbeing. That scarcity separates all groups and increases conflict.

If this second view of conflict, and more dramatically increasing conflict, is true then the past activities of peace seekers are systemically flawed. They instead of addressing conflict as a flaw in leadership, should be addressing it as a flaw in perception of 6 billion individuals. A flaw that prevents seeing normal benign behaviors as the creator of conflict. A flaw that fails to motivation each of the 6 billion people to act otherwise.

Each of us will try and find a reason to ignore the above argument which demands a change in if not the thinking processes of billions at least the behavior of billions.

It is easier to believe that technology will prevent scarcity by expanding supply. But if history has taught us anything it is that needs and the desire to acquire them will expand to make any supply scarce.

Technology increases the harshness of conflict. Technology can try to protect a group behind walls but technology also helps those on the outside injurer those within.

The wellbeing of the most powerful will be curtailed in that they will have to give up personal freedoms to ensure their security.

Another reason to ignore the above view of human conflict is a belief that some political, economic, or religious structure can facilitate peace. However, this has not happened in the past. And there is little reason to believe that it can happen in the future. As long as these institutions do not dictate changes in currently acceptable personal behaviors of the 6 billion, we will have trends toward scarcity and conflict.

Another reason for ignoring the above view of human conflict, is that peace seekers, even when successful at restraining the military or mediating hostilities, do not change our course toward conflict. They only delay it. In the process, peace seekers consume the very energy required to change the things that would make societies head toward peace.

Today we, as peace seekers, have to face reality. We have no plan for the peace of our great grandchildren or beyond. We will have no plan until we focus on changing the personal behaviors of 6 billion people. Those changes will require either, very unpleasant institutional actions, or a universal change in the cognitive processes which assign value to a never experienced abstraction, the lives of yet to be born progeny.

Peace seekers, have to find a way to produce a global constituency with cognitive processes that reject behaviors we think are benign. And instead choose behavior that creates ever expanding abundance and thus ever expanding peace.

4/27/04

Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org       www.skil.org      Other position papers

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