HomeDocuments on SitePersonalDemocratic PeaceDemocide20th C. DemocideMegamurderersLesser MurderersWhy DemocideDimensionsConflictMethodsTheoryPolicyLinks PHOTOS OF DEMOCIDEGalleries

Other Books on This site

On Democide

Lethal Politics: Soviet....

China's Bloody Century

Democide: Nazi Genocide....

Death By Government

Statistics of Democide

On Theory/Conflict/War

Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (entire)

Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (entire)

Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective (entire)

Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace (entire)

The Conflict Helix: Principles and Practices....

On The Democractic Peace

The Miracle That Is Freedom (entire)

Power Kills

On Methods

Understanding Correlation (entire)

Article: "Understanding Factor Analysis" (entire)


Vol. 5
The Just Peace

By R.J. Rummel

Beverly Hills, California:
Sage Publications, 1981

But the real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.
----Ralph Waldo Emerson, Worship


Chapter 1: Perspective And Summary


Chapter 2: What is Peace?
Chapter 3: Alternative Concepts of Peace


Chapter 4: Metajustice
Chapter 5: The Social Contract Model
Chapter 6: The Global Convention of Minds
Chapter 7: The Just Peace Principles
Chapter 8: The Just Peace


Chapter 9: Implementation of a Just Peace: Incrementalism
Chapter 10: Principles of Conflict Resolution
Chapter 11: The Positive Peace Principle


Chapter 12: The Grand Master Principle
Chapter 13: Conclusion


Chapter 1: Perspective And Summary
1.1. The Question
1.2. The Reality of Conflict
1.3. Orientation
1.4. Summary and Overview
Chapter 2: What is Peace?
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Peace as a Social Contract:
  1. The Conflict Principle
  2. The Cooperation Principle
  3. The Gap Principle
  4. The Helix Principle
  5. The Second and Fourth Master Principles
2.3. The Nature of a Social Contract:
  1. Expectations
    1. Status Quo
    2. Non-Status Quo
    3. Overall
  2. Theoretical Dimensions
    1. Actuality
    2. Generality
    3. Polarity
    4. Evaluative
  3. Forms
  4. Orders
    1. Groups
    2. Societies
    3. In Sum
2.4. Conceptual Levels and Dimensions of Peace:
  1. Conceptual Levels
    1. Levels
    2. A Threshold
  2. Social Levels
    1. Levels
    2. Crosscutting Levels)
  3. Conceptual Dimensions
    1. The Metalevel
    2. Empirical Concept
    3. Abstract Concept
    4. Construct
    5. Descriptive-Normative
2.5. Qualities of Peace:
  1. An Existent
  2. Dichotomous
  3. Internal and External
  4. Active
2.6. Advantages of this Conceptualization

Chapter 3: Alternative Concepts of Peace
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Concepts and Underlying Principles
3.3. As a State of Nonconflict, Nonviolence, or Nonwar:
  1. As an Absence of . . .
    1. Historical and Contemporary Usage
    2. For Irenologists
    3. For Pacifists
    4. For Students of International Relations
    5. E. In Sum
  2. As "Negative Peace"
3.4. As a State of Order:
  1. As Concord
  2. As Harmony and Tranquility
    1. Concept
    2. And Social Contract
3.5. As a State of Mind:
  1. Concept
  2. And Social Contract
3.6. As a State of Law:
  1. As a Peace Treaty
  2. As Civil Government
    1. Concept
    2. And Social Contract
  3. As Abstract Laws
3.7. As a State of Coercive Power:
  1. Power Versus Powers
  2. Balance of Power
  3. Equilibrium
  4. The Balance of Powers Underlying a Social Contract
3.8. Peace as a Divine State
3.9. Peace as a State of Goodness:
  1. As a Good
  2. As Justice
  3. "Positive Peace"
    1. Johan Galtung
    2. His Idea of Violence
    3. His Structure of Violence
    4. His-Concept of "Positive Peace"
    5. His Political Theory
3.10. And Peace as a Social Contract:
  1. Summary
  2. Social Contract = Social Peace
Chapter 4: Metajustice
4.1. The Question
4.2. Metaethics
  1. Ethics
  2. Metaethical Theories
    1. Objectivism
    2. Subjectivism
    3. Relativism and Other Theories
  3. Types of Statements
    1. Taxonomy
    2. Analytic Statements
    3. Contradictory Statements
    4. Synthetic Statements
    5. Empirical Statements
    6. Exclamations and Commands
  4. Ethical Statements
    1. Descriptiveness
    2. Prescriptiveness
    3. Universalizable
    4. Moral
    5. The Is/Ought Dichotomy
    6. The Nature of Ethical Statements
4.3. The Planes of Reality and Morality
  1. The Plane of Reality
  2. The Plane of Morality
  3. The Overlap
4.4. The Region of Justice
  1. Just Statements
  2. Formal Properties of Just Statements
  3. Empirical Properties of Just Statements
4.5. Method for Determining a Just Peace
  1. Social Contract Theory
  2. Preview
Chapter 5: The Social Contract Model
5.1. The Purpose and Approach
5.2. The Model
  1. The Message
  2. The Model and Requirements of a Just Peace
    1. Prescriptivity
    2. Universality
    3. Morality
    4. Practicality
    5. Impartiality
    6. Fairness
    7. Rightness
    8. Peace
  3. The Convention Voting Rules
5.3. The Underlying Psychological Principles
  1. Subjectivity Principle: Perception is Subjective
  2. Intentionality Principle: We Behave to Achieve
  3. Self-Esteem Principle: We Strive for Self-Esteem
  4. Expectations Principle: Expectations Guide Behavior
  5. Responsibility Principle: We are Responsible for Our Behavior
  6. The Individuality Master Principle: We are Individuals
Chapter 6: The Global Convention of Minds
6.1. The Convening
6.2. The Bargaining
  1. Nature
  2. Sociocultural Divisions
  3. Sociopolitical Ideologies
Chapter 7: The Just Peace Principles
7.1. A Middle Solution?
7.2. A Metasolution: The Just Principles
  1. The Free Choice Principle
  2. The Liberation Principle
7.3. The Constitutional Principles
  1. The Need
  2. The Sovereign Equality Principle
  3. The Restricted Purposes Principle
  4. The Representative Government Principle
  5. The Limited Government Principle
7.4. The Just Package
  1. The Debate
  2. The Just Package and Peace
  3. The Vote
Chapter 8: The Just Peace
8.1. Order, Justice, and Power
8.2. Peace Versus Justice
8.3. Convergent Arguments for the Just Peace
  1. A Trial-and-Error Process
  2. An Ethical Method
  3. A Metautopia
  4. Rawls' First Principle
  5. From History
  6. Human Equality and Welfare
    1. Adjustments
    2. Welfare
    3. Poverty and Hunger
    4. Equality
8.4. Conclusion

Chapter 9: Implementation of a Just Peace: Incrementalism
9.1. The Problem
9.2. The Philosophy of Incrementalism
Chapter 10: Principles of Conflict Resolution
10.1. The Peacemaking Principle
  1. Clarify the Conflict Situation
  2. Define a "Yesable" Interest
  3. Invoke Overriding Interests
  4. Focus on an Exchange
  5. Emphasize Legitimacy
  6. Keep Issue and Power Proportional
  7. Display Commitment
  8. Consider Creating Distance
  9. Resist Aggression
  10. Conclusion and Qualifications
10.2. The Peacekeeping Principle
  1. Start from the Existing Balance of Powers
  2. Guard the Balance of Powers
  3. Reduce Any Gap Between Expectations and Power
  4. Accept Some Conflict Now
  5. Reduce the Probability of Successful Violence
  6. Conclusion
10.3. The Peacefostering Principle
  1. Expect Conflict as Normal
  2. Subject Recurring Issues to Fair Decision Rules
  3. Institutionalize Adjustment Procedures
  4. Promote Cross-Pressures
  5. Increase and Assure Freedom
  6. Conclusion
Chapter 11: The Positive Peace Principle
11.1. The Principles
11.2. Vectors of Action for National Societies
11.3. Vectors of Action for International Relations
Chapter 12: The Grand Master Principle

Chapter 13: Conclusion


I am indebted to the Political Science Department, University of Hawaii, for typing the manuscript for this book; especially Jeanette Matsuda for coordinating and facilitating all typing and duplication.

As for all my writing and creative activity, my wife Grace has been colleague and partner in this effort. Her frank comments, unsettling ability to unravel an argument with an "innocent" query, and concern for the underlying logic of my writing have contributed much to the coherence and consistency of this book. And not least, I owe to her thorough editing whatever polish it may have. Again-thanks, sweetheart.




We can ask about how much violence and war have occurred. And why. And about the role of perception and interests, the involvement of status and class, the framework of meanings and norms, and the function of conflict in the social order. And then, whether violence and war are inevitable. Such questions are ontological--they concern the reality of conflict. They were my questions in previous volumes, which I attempted to answer through empirical propositions and basic principles.1 In a nutshell, I concluded that violence of some sort is inherent in the social process but that intense collective violence and war are not.2

But there is a second, equally important question transcending this reality and entering the kingdom of ends. It asks what we should do, given the nature of conflict. It goes beyond engineering or instrumental questions. It concerns the Good, the Just, the Right. That is, it involves ethical questions. And it focuses this final volume.

Put simply, I am asking this. Given the reality of violence and war, what should be done to create a universal and lasting peace?

My answer, which is the conclusion of this book,3 these five volumes, and associated publications, can be put simply: Promote freedom.


Conflict is part of a social process by which people, groups, and states adjust their different and changing interests, capabilities, and wills. It is both a manifestation of a breakdown in social expectations and a means by which new expectations can be formed. Through conflict, social order is established and adjusted.

More specifically, whether between individuals or groups, within or between states, conflict manifests a trial-and-error adaptation among subjective, individual worlds. It establishes a balance of powers--an interlocking equilibrium--between what we want, can get, and will pursue. The result is an associated structure of expectations, a definition of what each of us can reliably predict about others, what we can anticipate as the outcome of his behavior. Such reliable expectations are essential for social cooperation and the division of labor. And such expectations are built on a balance of powers--a complex of threats, promises, legitimacy, persuasion, and love. There is, therefore, a social bond between cooperation and conflict. Through disagreements, arguments, confrontations, fights, clashes, struggles, violence, and war, we build our social balances and assure cooperation.

Expectations tend to remain constant, like habits and routines. While, unfortunately, our desires and wants will shift, our abilities, resources, and skills, our preparedness, fitness, and conditions, will change. And our resolution and commitment will alter. As a result, the balance of powers underlying a structure of expectations will in time diverge from expectations and an increasing gap will form: what people or groups expect of each other, their rewards, benefits, and understandings, their rights and obligations, will no longer realistically accord with their interests, capabilities, and will. Tension and hostility may develop; uneasiness may be felt. In any case, the social atmosphere is ripe for some event to trigger conflict behavior.

Such behavior then serves to restructure expectations more in line with the changes that have taken place in the balance of powers, to recreate the conditions essential for cooperation. Conflict and cooperation are then complementary phases in the progress of social life. However, these phases are not cyclical. If the conditions or environment of a social relationship remain fairly constant, then the progression of conflict and cooperation forms a helix: conflict gets shorter and less intense, cooperation more durable and deeper, as people learn from previous conflict, expectations, and interaction. As a couple surviving the fights of their early married years and growing old together.

Such is the reality of social conflict in general. But what about violence? Conflict between groups and classes will not turn into collective violence unless the status quo is disrupted. This means that expectations governing rights and duties, benefits and obligations--our core social interests--have collapsed. Even then, such violence may not become widespread or turn into large-scale, collective violence or internal war unless the society is polarized along class lines. Pluralistic societies, in which interests are segmented by overlapping group memberships and roles, social mobility is free and positions open, and people may be in one class or another depending on their group membership, localize and contain collective violence. For this reason, exchange societies--the most diverse and pluralistic type--have the least violence; coercive societies, which create an overall we-they, command-obey class, have the most.

As a form of violence, war at the international level should be similarly understood. Its occurrence presupposes a breakdown of the international status quo, particularly territorially defined rights and interests. In turn, this presupposes that the balance of powers has shifted significantly: what states want, can get, and are resolved to fight for or defend has altered. But war may still not break out. For a status quo dispute may be between libertarian (liberal democratic) states, which, by virtue of their liberal cultures and diverse but also shared and cross-pressured interests, do not make war on each other. Or, if involving authoritarian or totalitarian states, there may be no ambiguity as to who is more powerful and can win. It is a breakdown in the status quo between totalitarian or authoritarian states, where both sides are roughly equal in power, that makes war most likely.

Concerning the international system, presently an international exchange society of libertarian, totalitarian, and authoritarian states, with a confederal form of government (the United Nations), the possibility of more general and intense wars increases as the system becomes polarized along class lines. In other words, as international rights and benefits, as spheres of territorial influence and control, become increasingly preempted by a small group of the most powerful states or elite, as the world becomes divided into command and obey classes of states, this division becomes the storm front of global war.

In very general terms, such is the reality of conflict, violence, and war. What is peace? Much will be said about peace in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Here I need say only that peace is a structure of expectations based on a specific balance of powers. It is thus a social contract--an agreement or understanding that enables social cooperation and coexistence. Peace is therefore bound into the social process. Social order, and thus peace, is a phase in the process of social adjustment between individual psychological worlds.

Obviously. All this is but a charcoal sketch of conflict and war. Much detail is needed, colors must be added, a dynamic balance between details and impressions and masses and colors created. More directly, the social forces involved must be described; the role of situation, perceptions, interests, expectations, dispositions, given more detail; the precise linkages indicated; the underlying theoretical and philosophical assumptions made explicit. And of course, all must be empirically confirmed. Such was done in previous volumes, and, where relevant to my normative enterprise, such now will be done here.4


This volume completes a rather large effort on which I might provide a final perspective. Throughout I have attempted to build an integrated, comprehensive view of social conflict. Each chapter of each volume was written to contribute to this. Each volume was meant to build on the previous work. What was developed in one volume became intrinsic to the next. As relevant, I have tried to cover the psychological, interpersonal, social, and international levels for understanding conflict and peace. In the process I have sought to unify philosophy, theory, and facts. I have tried to mold together metaphysics, mathematical theory, and empirical science.

These five volumes thus form a gestalt, a oneness. Each chapter, each part, and each volume contributes to this whole, but each also acquires more meaning and value from its participation in this whole--this picture of our conflict, war, and peace. Although each volume has been unveiled separately and each was meant to stand on its own as a contribution to understanding, now that all five are published they form one picture--a single landscape painting. I offer them to the scholarly-scientific world as such.

I pick this metaphor of a painting carefully, for it captures my view of this work and truth in general. The real social world is an infinite complex of potentials and dispositions, of constantly shifting sense impressions.5 Each of us as scholar or denizen cognitively and perceptually structures this social world to make sense out of it and orient our actions within it. Each such structure (a perspective, really) is a dynamic simplification that provides understanding and direction. This perspective is partly of the real social world, but it is also partly of ourselves. It is a dynamic balance between what this social reality imposes on us and what we try to mold it into. Such is the painting of a landscape artist--a dynamic balance between the impression the artist wishes to convey and the actual landscape in its rich diversity.

Thus I present my painting of conflict and war. And peace. It forms an artistic totality, with a certain fidelity to reality, I trust, but also with a simplification necessary to convey an impression, to give unity, to make a point. Others, of course, will paint this reality differently. Different views, different skills, different techniques will be brought to bear. Therefore, I submit this painting in no belief that it is the only one, or the best of all, or without possible improvement. I do believe, however, that it presents a new and useful picture of conflict and peace to be hung alongside others in the gallery of our attempts to understand conflict and war and create a better, more peaceful world.


On Peace

To determine a just peace requires a prior clarification of what peace means. The first part of this volume focuses on peace as a concept; the opening Chapter 2 describes peace in detail. I point out that:

  • peace is a social contract based on a balance of powers (interests, capabilities, wills);

  • as a social contract, peace may be implicit or explicit, conscious or subconscious, or socially narrow or comprehensive;

  • diverse kinds of peace overlap and interrelate at all social levels;

  • at the national and global levels peace is an overarching social contract (norms, laws, rules, institutions) based on a specific balance of powers;

  • peace is not the absence of violence, but an active, existing social entity.

Chapter 3 then compares this idea of peace with other conceptualizations. Historically, peace has been seen as:

  • a state of nonconflict, of nonviolence, of order, of mind, of law, of coercive power, of divinity, of goodness;

  • more particularly, concord, social or spiritual harmony and tranquility, common government, abstract laws, a balance of power, equilibrium, or social justice and equality.

Then, by comparison to these other concepts, peace as a social contract:

  • is a broad conception subsuming a number of alternative views of peace;

  • is ethically neutral, and thus will not normatively bias the definition of a just peace.

On a Just Peace

Given the above idea of peace, Part II focuses on justice. What is it? How can we define it? Since to answer these questions demands engaging the broader field of ethics itself, Chapter 4 considers metaethics, or questions about what ethics is and how we can know, and then applies the answers to justice. It thus concludes that:

  • statements about justice are descriptive, prescriptive, universalizable, and moral;

  • fundamental statements about justice are partly objective, partly rational, partly attitudinal (or emotive), depending on whether the statements are fundamental or instrumental;

  • the realm of facts and justice partly overlap, such that facts limit our choice of what is just, while the latter spotlights facts.

With this in mind Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 construct and use a social contract model to determine the principles of justice for organizing a peaceful society--that is, for a just peace. The basic idea is that the institutions of society should be those that people, each voting as one, without foreknowledge of their resulting status, position, or resources, would impartially and fairly select to live under. The model sets up a Global Convention of Minds in which all people will participate, debate, and vote on the principles for a new society, while in ignorance of their resulting advantages and disadvantages. Chapter 5 presents this model; Chapter 6 considers the bargaining within the Convention. The latter concludes:

  • The presentation of alternative principles of justice and bargaining over them most likely would be along the lines of contemporary global sociocultural and political divisions.

  • These divisions would be between sensate and ideational (materialistic versus spiritual) cultures, among exchange, coercive, and authoritarian societies, and among libertarian, totalitarian, and authoritarian political formulas.

Given this probable division in the bargaining among all the world's people, Chapter 7 considers possible solutions. It argues that:

  • a middle or compromise solution--set of principles of justice--is undefinable, but even were there such a solution a consensus across the world's basic sociocultural and political divisions is inconceivable;

  • therefore a solution can be found only at a meta, or second, order;

  • at this second order the world's people likely would agree to something like these two principles of justice:

    • people are free to form any community of their choice in order to implement their own beliefs about justice, and

    • people have a right to leave any community.

The problem of a new society based on such principles, however, is that there is no guarantee that people or communities will observe them. As rights, free choice and free exit would be insecure. Therefore, Chapter 7 also considers how people in the Convention would guarantee the two principles of justice, concluding that

  • there would be a consensus on four supporting constitutional principles, which

    • guarantee the sovereign equality of communities;

    • form a federal, global government to guarantee the just principles and this sovereign equality;

    • make this federation representative of communities and people; and

    • provide this federation with a monopoly of force, but limit its scope to a minimum.


  • the two just principles plus four constitutional principles define a just peace;

  • this just peace is what each of us would generally choose for ourselves freely, fairly, and impartially, were we able;

  • it maximizes social justice (consistent with nonviolence) by enabling each of us to live as we consider just, consistent with the like freedom of others;

  • it maximizes nonviolence (consistent with social justice) by creating a global exchange society of communities.

Chapter 8, the last in this part, then proposes a number of arguments independently supporting the idea of a just peace given above. Along with the social contract model these arguments provide a rational, empirical, and humanistic basis for a just peace. A just peace would:

  • facilitate people mutually and reciprocally, through trial and error, adjusting their different conceptions and attitudes about justice;

  • comprise a metaethical method through which the diverse natures and consequences of different views of justice can be tested;

  • provide a metautopian framework in which each of us would be permitted our utopia--to test our dreams and visions--consistent with a like freedom for others;

  • be consistent with John Rawl's priority principle of liberty plus his supporting political institutions;

  • reflect the actual historical, global choices of humankind, in that the just peace is similar to many facets of the current international system that has evolved over the centuries out of our needs and interests and our most general sense for justice; and

  • promote social harmony, social and economic welfare, social and economic equality, and help alleviate poverty and hunger.

On Implementation

It is not enough to define an ideal. We must also be able to point out the practical steps toward achieving it. This is the concern of Part III. Its Chapter 9 briefly describes the philosophy of incrementalism that, I argue, should underlie any attempt to implement a just peace within a functioning status quo. In sum, this philosophy is that,

  • because we really do not know how any change will affect all the various balances composing society, reforms in society should be made by small increments to help evaluate the effects of each reform. That is, to test through practice and to enable us to draw back from reforms if unexpected, undesirable consequences occur.

However, if the status quo in society has or is breaking down, as in revolution or war, then incremental changes toward a just peace are not feasible. The question is then how to make a peace suitable to incrementalism, and then how to keep and foster this peace. Therefore, Chapter 10 considers three principles of conflict resolution toward this end:

  • you make peace by balancing powers;

  • peace depends on keeping expectations and power aligned;

  • freeing adjustment to change fosters peace.

Assuming now a stable status quo, what incrementally should be done to create a just peace? This is the question of Chapter 11, which essentially answers it through:

  • The Positive Peace Principle: minimize the power of government.

For contemporary national societies this involves reducing the powers of their governments; for the global society it means increasing the power of the United Nations. Specifically, this principle entails five "vectors of action" to create, incrementally, a just peace within national societies:

  • enhance and guarantee the freedom of choice and mobility of citizens and groups;

  • decentralize power;

  • increase the horizontal distribution of government power;

  • increase political participation of communities and people;

  • decrease government's social and economic control and intervention.

For the international system there are also five "vectors of action" toward a global just peace:

  • facilitate the right to emigrate;

  • encourage and aid efforts at national self-determination and independence;

  • gradually increase the representation of people, in addition to states, within the United Nations;

  • incrementally strengthen UN peacekeeping and peacemaking machinery;

  • slowly transfer a monopoly of force to the UN.


Finally, the two chapters of Part V conclude this volume. With regard to creating a just peace, Chapter 12 reduces these rive volumes to the following superordinate principle, and three corollaries.

  • The Grand Master Principle: promote freedom.

    • Corollary 1: freedom maximizes the happiness and dignity of the greatest number.

    • Corollary 2: freedom maximizes social justice.

    • Corollary 3: freedom maximizes peace from violence.

Chapter 13 refers this conclusion to the original questions that focused Understanding Conflict and War, and concludes that:

  • some sort of violence in or between societies is inevitable, but extreme violence and war are not; and

  • to eliminate war, to restrain violence, to nurture universal peace and justice, is to foster freedom.


* Scanned from Chapter 1. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.

1. See Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace (Chapter 19 and Chapter 20) for the overall propositions and principles. All references to "Volume" here and in subsequent chapters are to the volumes of Rummel (Understanding Conflict and War).

2. Regarding the inevitability of violence, see Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective (Chapter 9). Exchange societies with libertarian governments preclude intense violence (Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix, Section 32.5 of Chapter 32). At the international level, libertarian states have not, and for theoretical reasons would not, make war on each other (Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace, Proposition 16.11). An international exchange society of libertarian states would therefore avoid intense violence and war. See Section 7.4.2.

3. At this point, the reader may wish to read the very brief conclusion, Chapter 13.

4. See Sections 2.2, 5.3, 6.2, and 7.4.2.

5. For this philosophy of reality, see Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (Part II).

For citations see the Vol. 5: The Just Peace REFERENCES

You are the visitor since 11/26/02

Go to top of document