Ecology and Peace Research

Journal article

Gjessing, Gutorm (1967) Ecology and Peace Research, Journal of Peace Research 4 (2): 125–138.

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Starting with Johan Galtung's 'Structural theory of aggression', the article empha sizes the ecological background of conflicts, particularly conversion of energy through plants and animals. The role of the horse is dealt with more extensively and exemplified by pastoral nomads, Plains Indians, etc. Group conflicts seem to be concomitant to the introduction of new mechanisms of conversion of energy. One of the most striking characteristics of industrialism is precisely the constant and strongly accelerating stream of new methods of converting energy.

'The white race' has been considered beyond comparison the most warlike of all 'races', and there is much evidence to suggest that its warlike traditions lead back even to the earliest Indo-European migrations in Late Neolithic time and the Bronze Age. As the acquisition of new instruments of conversion of energy seems to promote belligerence - whereas again war means an enormous stimulus to technological development - the 'output — feedback - input' model probably should be applicable to the study of war.

Since war is a structural phenomenon apparently endemic in Western industrialized countries, their structures, and accordingly their values, have to be changed in correla tion to inter-state structures in the direction of social and economical equality. This would mean values which make for cooperation rather than rivalry; creative, constructive activity instead of aggression.

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