Purpose of War

Kenneth Gauck (C558382@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Thu, 3 Nov 1994 09:12:44 CST

Warren Sproule raises the question of otivation for war, identifing the
material causes and raising the issue of the "just war" and the "cold war".
I would propose that all war is a dispute which has come to be settled in
the political sphere by force. I would say that the aims of any beligerent
power could be expressed in terms of an economy of some kind:

* Moral economy : collection of deeds (righteousness)
* Prestige economy : collection of status
* Spiritual economy: collection of converts, souls, belivers
* Material economy : collection of the tangible

Like any economy, their distribution is governed by scarcity- limited
resources and unlimited desire. If this accuratly describes the purpose
of war, we should expect to find that and sudden relative decline in one
of these resources will cause a dispute. Any dispute may or may not be
handled as a negotiation between the concerned parties about their shares
of the resource. A dispute which is not settled will be elevated at some
time beyond the economic sphere to the political, drawing in supporters.
In a political dispute, the parties attempt to persuade or coerce each
other based upon the treat of their punitive power. They say, in effect,
"Let's settle this or we'll make things hard for you." War is politics
by violent means.

If this accuratly describes the purpose of war, we should also expect to
find that wars are rooted in the shortage of resources, including any
that I have not named. Thus the realtionship workes both ways, because
people fight for what they think they need.

Kenneth Gauck