Download the “The Trend of War in the World: Evidence from the Arab-Israeli Dispute” Data files here.
A History of Force: Exploring the worldwide movement against habits of coercion, bloodshed, and mayhem
Despite its importance, the role of force has been strangely ignored by social science. In this studythe first effort anyone has made to compile a history of forcePayne traces the role played by this factor in the evolution of civilization and in the development of modern social and political institutions.
Over a decade in preparation, this book reviews over two dozen coercion-based practices, including human sacrifice, genocide, war, terrorism, revolution, political murder, riots, homicide, imprisonment, capital punishment, torture, religious persecution, slavery, debt bondage, and taxation. Examples and data are drawn from all over the world, including ancient Rome, medieval Japan, early modern England, revolutionary Russia, as well as the past four centuries of American history. This vast body of data points to the exciting conclusion that the long run tendency in societies is for the use of force to decline.
Payne is aware that this conclusion will seem controversial, especially in view of TV-generated hysteria about violence. He spends several chapters explaining how many prejudices and distortions operate to prevent both scholars and the public from grasping the real trend toward a more peaceful world.
The decline-in-force idea proves to be an exciting tool for analyzing history and evolution of political institutions. Payne shows how the modern institutions of democracy are a product of the recent decline in force in those countries where they have taken root.
The decline-in force idea also applies to the present. The evolution against force is not over, says Payne. It continues in our own time, working to undermine institutions based on forcelike government. Payne traces out how the modern distrust of government is part of the historic shift against force. Although he cautions against expecting rapid, immediate change, Payne suggests that the future does not lie with the coercion-based institutions of government. Instead, we should expect to see a gradual expansion of voluntary systems that look to motives of generosity and cooperation.
(296 pages, table, figures, notes, index)