Category Archives: Conflict

Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where harm is important. In terms of our two basic categories, it is both a “means of obtaining income through harm” and an important way of “staying in power/struggling for control.” It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. (See the sections on harm in Understanding harm, especially  conflict theory, some economic historians, and primitive accumulation in the exploitation in Marxism section.)  These patterns continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form.  Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom.
Conflict, even narrowly defined, is an important activity. In 2019, there were 54 state-based armed and 67 non-state armed conflicts (Petterson and Öberg 2020) The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates world military expenditure at $1.8 trillion in 2019, or 2.2 percent of global gross domestic product (SIPRI 2020).  It does use resources that can be devoted to productive activity. The drastic worsening of peoples’ lives is a second major source of harm from conflict. For example, at the end of 2019, 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations (UNHCR 2020).  Approximately one of every 100 people worldwide have moved from normal lives to the bleakness and desperation of a refugee situation.

Conflict 2022

More than 100 million now forcibly displaced UNHCR June 16, 2022 Access full report.
At the end of June 2022, an estimated 103 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order. This is an increase of 13.6 million (+15 per cent) compared to the end of 2021, more than the entire populations of Belgium, Burundi or Cuba. Today, one in every 78 people on earth is displaced.

How the West betrayed Mikhail Gorbachev and seeded the Ukraine conflict Thomas Palley September 1, 2022

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