HomePersonalDemocratic PeaceDemocide20th C. DemocideMegamurderersLesser MurderersWhy DemocideDimensionsConflictMethodsTheoryPolicyLinks

Volume 4

Expanded Contents | Figures | Tables


1. Perspective And Summary
2. International Relations
3. The International Actors
4. International Behavior Space-Time
5. International Expectations And Dispositions
6. International Actor And Situation
7. International Sociocultural Space-Time
8. Interests, Capabilities, And Wills
9. The Social Field Of International Relations
10. Latent International Conflict
11. International Conflict: Trigger, Will, And Preparations
12. The Balancing Of Power
13. Comparative Dynamics Of International Conflict
15. Empirical Dynamics Of International Conflict
16. Causes And Conditions Of International Conflict And War
17. Ending Conflict And War: The Balance Of Powers
18. The International Conflict Helix
20. Principles Of Peace And Conflict


15A. Phasing Propositions and Their Evidence on International Conflict
16A. On Causes of International Conflict
16B. Propositions and Their Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of International Conflict Behavior
16C. Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of International Conflict Behavior
17A. Propositions and Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of Ending International Conflict Behavior
18A. Descriptive Propositions on International Conflict
19A. Overall Evidence on 54 Social Field Propositions on International Conflict
19B. Primary Propositions on Social Conflict
I. Unpublished Research and Results on International Relations
II. Event Data: Bases of Empirical Conflict Analysis
III. Characteristics of Published Quantitative International Relations Studies

Other Volumes

Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field
Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix
Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective
Vol. 5: The Just Peace

Other Related Work

Conflict And Violence page

Democratic Peace page


Chapter 19

Theoretical And Empirical Conclusions
Conflict And War *

By R.J. Rummel

If you will be persuaded by me, pay little attention to Socrates, but much more to the truth; and if I appear to you to say anything true, assent to it, but if not, oppose me with all your might, taking good care that in my zeal I do not deceive both myself and you.
---- Socrates in Plato's Phaedo

From this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace, and previous Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field, Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix, Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective, and related works, we can draw several basic empirical conclusions about our conflict with each other, whether interpersonal, social, or international. These conclusions have been stated as primary propositions in Appendix 19B and therein related to the propositions established in this and the other volumes mentioned, and in my Field Theory Evolving (1977)

In all, the empirical conclusions are that:

  • disrupted expectations cause conflict behavior,

  • power shapes conflict,

  • freedom minimizes violence,

  • cooperation and conflict behavior are independent,

  • change produces conflict,

  • conflict takes place in a situation,

  • individual perceptions and expectations condition conflict,

  • sociocultural distances affect conflict.

These empirical conclusions get their meaning and substance from a perspective on conflict. This is that:

  • conflict is a process of establishing a balance of powers in a social field;

  • peace, harmony, and cooperation are a structure of expectations congruent with a balance of powers;

  • conflict tends to become less intense and frequent and peace more enduring.

The empirical conclusions and this perspective apply to interpersonal conflict, social (collective) conflict within societies, and international conflict. They constitute together a view of conflict scientifically confirmed by the historical and contemporary record of humanity's social and international conflicts.

Yet, one must ask, of what moment are these conclusions? Of what value? From them what can we assert about eliminating or managing conflict, violence, and war? And especially, how do we do this consistent with social justice? This is the concern of Vol. 5: The Just Peace.1 But before moving on to this, Chapter 20 is necessary to pull these volumes and propositions together in a set of principles which make explicit and organize simply and clearly the assumptions, theory, and findings explicit in this work.


* Scanned from Chapter 19 in R.J. Rummel, War, Power, Peace, 1979. For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click book. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.

1. [Added in 1998] For a chapter on what should be done, given these results, those on democide (Death By Government), and an analysis of social justice, see Chapter 8 in The Miracle That Is Freedom.

For citations see the Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace REFERENCES

Go to top of document