Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1919): The Economic Consequences of the Peace, chs. 1-2
Reading: Guillaume Daudin et al.: Globalization 1870-1914

Reading: Norman Angell (1909): Europe's Optical Illusion, chapters 6-9

Norman Angell (1909): Europe's Optical Illusion, chapters 6-9

Norman Angell's pre-World War I works are perhaps the saddest on my bookshelf. Angell explains, patiently and relentlessly, that humanity has outgrown war.

It used to be that tribes warred to possess hunting grounds, grazing grounds, and fertile fields. It used to be that the priest-maddened warred to bring forced worshippers to their gods. It used to be that merchants warred to control markets. It used to be that princes and kings warred to gain provinces they might tax--out of the proceeds from which they might live in luxury, build defenses against their like-minded fellows, and engage in further conquests.

But, Angell says, in modern days kings and princes are satisfied to rule over people who voluntarily give them their allegiance. Republics and democracies and constitutional monarchies do not want more voters who do not want to be part of their political community. Merchants now understand that impoverishing your trading partners diminishes, rather than increases, your profits and that the game of monopoly-by-war is almost never worth the candle. Humanity has outgrown its infancy and believes in freedom of conscience and religion. Equally humanity has outgrown its infancy of wars of depopulation and genocide.