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Volume 5

Expanded Contents

1: Perspective And Summary
2: What is Peace?
3:Alternative Concepts of Peace
5:The Social Contract Model
6:The Global Convention of Minds
7: The Just Peace Principles
9:Implementation of a Just Peace:Incrementalism
10: Principles of Conflict Resolution
11: The Positive Peace Principle
12:The Grand Master Principle

Other Volumes

Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field
Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix
Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective
Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace

Other Related Work

Conflict And Violence page

Democratic Peace page


Chapter 8


By R.J. Rummel

Live and let live is the rule of common justice.
----Sir Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop


Through the social contract model of Chapter 5 I have developed in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 a Just Package of two just and four supporting constitutional principles, which are listed in Table 8.1. These define the just peace. Here I want to forget the rhetoric and constraints of the associated model and simply discuss the principles and their meaning in order to better display their power and significance.

Three crucial elements of the Just Package contribute to its total significance. These are shown in Figure 8.1 individually and as they contribute to the Package. Now, these elements--order, power, justice1--are basic to all societies, although they vary in the degree of social order; the domination and combination of force, coercion, and authority; and the justice of their laws and institutions.

All that has gone before provides definition and substance to these elements. Social order means an overarching social contract:2 that is, peace as I defined it in Chapter 2. Force, coercion, and authority3 are those powers based on physical capability, threats, and legitimacy, which to some extent underlie all societies,4 especially through their governments. For government is an institution whose purposes are achieved by some combination of these powers. And finally, justice is basically a moral attitude about what is impartial, fair, and right.5

To define a just society we are really seeking some combinations of order and power which we call just. Figure 8.1 is particularly helpful in illustrating these alternative combinations. The first alternative is the conjunction of power and justice, without order. This defines what we call just war6 or, more generally, just violence. It is the use of force, coercion, and authority to pursue or defend through violence a just cause or to right an injustice.7 In my terms, it is the violent balancing of force or coercion to achieve a just structure of expectations (status quo)--a particular just social contract.

In general, however, a just social contract is the conjunction of justice and order and may exist independently of force, coercion and authority, as in a loving relationship or a fair exchange.8 Small communities may exist entirely by love and devotion or by exchange and persuasion. As these orders are just they lie entirely in the overlap in Figure 8.1 between justice and order. This overlap is also the space of the Just Principles. For as developed and conceptualized, these principles are wholly concerned with an order in which people are free to seek and found their own communities.9 This is a voluntary order, a just peace unsupported by force, coercion, or authority. That is, alone, the Just Principles frame a pure, anarchical order.

For larger societies (and we are encompassing even global societies) an anarchical order could not long remain just, however.10 With no one to guarantee a person's right to free choice and liberation, the operation and continued existence of these rights become a matter of interests, capabilities, and wills--a matter of balancing powers. And in the clash of powers there is no assurance that people's rights will win out. Indeed, if world history provides any lesson it is that force and coercion soon triumph over any unprotected abstract rights.11

For this reason the Constitutional Principles add necessary security to the Just Principles. They provide the element of power essential to secure a just order. Together, both sets of principles combine justice, order, and power; they create the central overlap in Figure 8.1 which is the space of the Just Package.

Finally, in the overlap in Figure 8.1 between order and power is a peace without justice that is enforced by power. This is tyranny: an arbitrary and oppressive use of power to impose and maintain order, such as a system of involuntary slavery or servitude, or a military conquest and coercive absorption of a nation. The Just Principles and Package define why tyranny lacks justice--because people are denied the freedom and security to choose their own order, the right and help to throw off the chains imposed by others.

No one who seriously considers an ideal society can ignore justice, order, and power, separately or in combination. We require order. We desire peace. But we also seek justice. And sometimes peace and justice are inconsistent and peace must give way, as for a just war. But when a just peace is found, when our social institutions manifest our freedom to seek and choose our own community, then we must bow to power.

Some force, coercion, and authority are necessary to secure and maintain a just order. Every student of peace or justice always should keep in view the question: what is the best combination of order, justice, and power that establishes an equilibrium--a balance of powers--securing the best peace with justice? I believe the Just Package to be a good answer. It is a philosophical solution based on a particular ontological perspective and metaethics. It is a theoretical solution based on social field theory and a normative social contract model. It is an empirical solution based on scientific research and an assessment of human interests.


To continue to examine the Just Package apart from the social contract model, I want to be sure that the relationship between our desire for peace, especially from violence, and justice is clear. The Just Package defines social institutions that people would agree to establish for themselves, freely, fairly, and impartially. This Just Package defines the just peace.

But what about this peace? Could it be better in some sense other than just? In answering this, keep in mind that nonviolence is also an aspect of justice,12 and that the just peace, defining as it does a global exchange society, tends to minimize social violence in comparison to the major, alternative types of social institutions. However, this just peace is not the optimum for nonviolence, for there are different kinds of exchange societies, and this optimum is achieved by that exchange society in which no authoritarian or coercive communities exist. That is, a global exchange society of exchange communities (states) would be the least violent of all. This is illustrated in Figure 8.2. Therefore, the answer to the above question is yes, the peace--social contract--could be better. It could comprise a more nonviolent, exchange society.

Why should an exchange society in which people are generally free be the least violent? I have already answered this in Section 7.4.2 and elsewhere, as footnoted therein. Here I need only reiterate that the greater the freedom and the more the diversity, mobility and cross-pressures, the less the tendency for society to polarize and associated violence to occur.


8.3.1 A Trial-and-Error Process

Although the Just Package is supported strongly by the social contract model (it is what people would choose for themselves), the more independent arguments that can be found for this Package, the more persuasive it will be and the greater our confidence in it. One such argument, which some may feel is the most significant of all, is that the freedom of people to seek and form their own communities provides maximum opportunity for social and moral experimentation, discovery and learning.

The Just Package permits--indeed, positively helps--each person to explore the question of what is Just. Each can apply his own knowledge to his individual situation; test the consequences of his own beliefs and attitudes toward justice. To these consequences each is then free to adjust.

Fundamentally, the question of justice is like that of truth.13 The accumulation of human knowledge about the world and ourselves is a process of discovery, testing, and falsification. More significantly, it is a continual process of trial and error in which the singular implications of general beliefs are tried in particular circumstances. If the implications are false, then the general beliefs come under pressure to change. Enough negative experiences and our ideas, our empirical perspective on the world, will shift.

This applies similarly to our beliefs about and attitudes toward social justice. Justice comprises a universal moral statement about human relations, such as that all people should be equal. From these ideas of justice flow certain consequences for particular behavior. But as we try to practice the specific implications of our attitudes toward justice and get social results painfully inconsistent with our other, more deeply held moral beliefs, then we will be inclined toward changing our attitudes.14 As these moral contradictions accumulate, eventually we may alter our attitudes completely.15 A good contemporary example of this is the conversion of former Marxists16 and non-Marxist socialists17 from the equalitarian creed to liberalism, once they have experienced or seen such equalitarianism in practice.

8.3.2 An Ethical Method

Besides the positive value of trial and error for our understanding and attitudes toward justice, the Just Package also permits and encourages people to achieve their own just social contracts. Each person has certain unique interests and beliefs, a unique will. No two people see justice exactly alike. There will be conflicts of interests fundamentally involving different conceptions of justice, different perceptions, different facts, different desires. The closer the process of adjustment is to these differences, the more people determine their own, just social contracts. Out of these diverse voluntary balances should gradually develop a social order that reflects in its social institutions the overall experience, interests, and adjustments of humankind to its varied situations, dissimilar personalities, and clashing interests.18 Social justice can therefore evolve out of such spontaneous behavior in the same way knowledge evolves from diverse individuals seeking and contending over truth.19

Let me sharpen this argument. Scientific method consists of a number of aspects, but the basic idea is that general empirical ideas and beliefs are subject to public testing and criticism. The public factor is critical. Theories or hypotheses must be clearly and publicly articulated; data must be available or replicable; tests or analysis must be reported. All this is necessary so that others can independently check and criticize claims and proclaim counterresults. And out of this critically important public balancing of intellectual power, this scientific dispute and conflict, grows without plan or coercion, a scientific consensus, our accepted scientific perspectives on the world. Truth, insofar as we can discover it, emerges when free people openly balance their beliefs and methods.20

Similarly with social justice. Through the building of varied communities that the Just Package allows and encourages, each community will be an experiment in social justice, an empirical test of different conceptions and beliefs about justice. Social Justice, perhaps insofar as we will ever know it, evolves from this global and public assessment, and experience with the practical consequences of each conflicting idea of justice.21

All this is to say that the counterpart to scientific method for justice, what we might call a metaethical method,22 is the Just Package23--that is, the just peace.

8.3.3 A Metautopia

Imagine, for a moment, that everyone tried to realize their utopian dreams about a just peace--whether a true Christian community, scientifically managed society, pure communist commune, stateless anarchy, or Plato's republic. An immediate problem is that other people would inhabit one's dream world, each of whom would likewise be trying to realize their own utopias. The result is that these various utopias would have to be reconciled such that each visionary could still realize his ideal, but consistent with those of others. How can this adjustment take place? Who will determine what aspects of whose utopias can exist? What procedures can be established to decide how to allocate certain rights to utopias? Who will arbitrate conflicts between utopias? How will rights be protected? While we all desire utopias, clearly in practice our dreams must confront those of others.

Is there, then, a practical solution to our imagined utopian building that justly manages this inevitable clash of utopias? Yes, the just peace. By the Just Principles each person is free to balance his ideals with others and to found his own utopian community. No outsider can dictate the nature of this community, so long as it allows people to leave freely and does not develop police or security forces beyond its internal needs. Under these constraints people can then voluntarily balance their utopian dreams.

Who will decide conflicts between utopias, then? Those involved in terms of their knowledge, values, interests, and willingness to adjust. Who will distribute utopias, then? No one. The distribution takes place as people adjust to each other's utopias. This is a free market of utopias, with distributions occurring spontaneously and evolving from the diversity and confrontation of different utopias. There need be no one to decide among utopias. There need only be a government to oversee and secure the process of adjustment, and to protect those utopias that are founded.

This system can surely be described as a metautopia.24 And this metautopia is the just peace.25

8.3.4 Rawls' First Principle

In A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls applied a social contract model to develop two principles of justice.26 He gives special attention to the first:

Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.

This principle has priority over the second, such that social institutions must first and foremost satisfy it.27

Now, according to Rawls, his first principle is what people would agree to were they ignorant of their own interests and the positions and advantages they would have in society. It is what "a person would choose for the design of a society in which his enemy is to assign him his place."28 Although there is considerable dispute about the logical claims for this principle,29 especially concerning the initial position, the principle is Rawls' "reflective" and intuitive judgment about the superordinate idea of social justice.

By "liberty" in the principle Rawls means the basic political liberties (right to free voting and to run for office), as well as freedom of speech, assembly, thought, and conscience.30 It also means freedom of religion, even if intolerant sects are formed. In effect, therefore, the Just Principles could be clauses of Rawls' first principle. And if people in his initial position would select, above all, Rawls' first principle, then they would surely find the Just Principles acceptable, although incomplete. For while the Just Principles do not specify the standard political and human freedoms, each person is given freedom to seek and found his own community of whatever freedoms he and others can agree upon. While in my view there is good reason for not accepting Rawls' more expanded view of liberty as a principle of justice (which is, in sum, that it imposes a particular conception of justice as freedom on all),31 the fact that Rawls' and my different social contract conceptions would still agree on at least the basic ideas in the Just Principles lends additional credence to them.

There is yet one more consideration. In a second stage in his social contract model Rawls also sets up a constitutional convention to institutionalize his two principles of justice.32 Here I need note only that his resulting constitutional government is a form of constitutional democracy33 "guaranteeing moral liberty and freedom of thought and belief, and of religious practice."34 The government is limited in that majority views cannot impose on these freedoms. Rawls also places a major emphasis on the role of government in maintaining public order and security.35 And the constitution provides for representation (presumably one person, one vote), equal participation, and free elections; separation of powers and checks and balances are assumed.36

Clearly, Rawls' government is a limited, constitutional system, balanced to ensure that power is restricted and diffused. It is also a welfare-oriented government, as defined by his second principle. Now, my Constitutional principles guarantee only the Just Principles; they provide no general rights to freedom of speech, religion, and so on (for this would contradict the right of people to establish or not to establish these conditions within their own community). Moreover, communities as well as people may be represented, and there is nothing in the Constitutional Principles establishing a one man, one vote procedure (although this may be done by a subsequent constitutional convention). There are other differences as well, but the important thing is to note that Rawls' constitution and my Constitutional Principles both create a limited, constitutional, representative system of government. In this, therefore, our institutions of justice agree, although for different reasons. He is trying to erect a first-order, sociopolitical system to protect the right of people to their own first-order principles and sociopolitical system. Regardless, there is substantial agreement.

In total, then, the Just Package--just peace--is close to Rawls' first principle of justice plus the political institutions for their implementation.37

8.3.5 From History

Societies evolve out of the challenges they must surmount, their environment, and the interests and morality of their members. As this evolutionary product, their social institutions broadly reflect the general sense of social justice of its people. It is highly significant, therefore, that as the international system has historically merged different regional political systems and empires; as it has grown in diversity to include antagonistic religions, diverse nationalities, and different races; and as it has become more globally pluralistic; it has grown to roughly approximate a just peace. There is a world minimum government, although without a monopoly of force.38 People may still try to found new communities (independent states) or join others, although the creation of new communities is not easy and many communities tightly restrict emigration. These differences, however, should not obscure the basic similarity to the just peace.

The plethora of sociocultural and sociopolitical divisions--each institutionalizing first-order principles of justice--is reflected by the great pluralism among nation-states. These are formally sovereign, independent and equal, and represented equally in the United Nations (except for the veto power of five in the Security Council), our contemporary world federation. And while a right to found or seek a community is not guaranteed, there are international norms emphasizing anticolonialism, the national self-determinism of peoples, and the right of people to flee repressive states and seek political asylum.

And I have already mentioned the violence-repressing aspects of international relations.39

While a fact cannot prove a principle of justice, international relations nonetheless provides a convergent argument to the complex of ethics and facts interwoven into the Just Package. This is especially true because of the method used here. In the social contract model the just peace is what people would choose. International relations shows that historically, over hundreds of years, out of billions of people making choices about and relevant to social institutions, something roughly like the just peace has evolved globally.

8.3.6 Human Equality and Welfare

Here I will give a first-order argument for the Just Package that explicitly brings in human welfare and equality.40 Unfortunately, the scope of this Vol. 5: The Just Peace allows me to only briefly summarize major arguments; I must leave to others the supporting scholarly analyses and evidence.41 What I intend to emphasize here is that the Just Package, with its creation of a free market of communities under a limited, central government, best promotes (given the major sociopolitical alternatives) the general welfare, particularly that of the poor and disadvantaged, and the very equality many seek as social justice.

First, one clarification. The just peace is a global society of sovereign and equal communities. People can form coercive or authoritarian communities if they wish. Some may desire and personally prosper under such systems. After all, many people voluntarily join and remain in a military organization, which is a totalitarian, coercive system; or monasteries and nunneries, which are absolutist, authoritarian communities. But the people's right to exit communities they find undesirable42 and the existence of a government to prevent intercommunity conquest and aggression would ameliorate the most pernicious aspects of such communities. For if their elite allow conditions to become too generally harsh and repressive, then they soon will begin to lose those upon whose labor they are most dependent. Without the ability to erect a Berlin-like wall around their people, totalitarian leaders must seek some level of wide legitimacy--of acceptability--to keep their people.

In any case, the point is that the just peace is not an exchange society for all people. It is an exchange society of communities, some of which themselves may be based on exchange. This qualification in mind, I claim that the just peace is a spontaneous social field that, given the global socialist and authoritarian alternatives, best achieves the following common ends: the adjustment to change; human welfare and equality; and the reduction and amelioration of poverty and hunger.

A. Adjustments. Any society, global or otherwise, has basically two ways to adjust to the diverse situational needs, interests, capabilities, and wills of its members. One is for government to study and plan what adjustments should be made, to apply rational and scientific procedures, and to command and control society so that the findings, results, and beliefs of leaders and experts are implemented. In effect, society is then hierarchical organization with a task orientation. The role of the people is to obey, for otherwise government plans, controls, regulations, rules--the whole apparatus to make proper adjustments--might be defeated. This creates an antifield.43

The other way of reconciling differences and accommodating change is for people (or communities) to freely and reciprocally adjust to their own changing interests and knowledge. Rather than an adjustment imposed from the top, which enhances the possibility of large-scale polarization and violence, adaptation develops from the bottom as people establish their own equilibria. These balances overlap and interlock into increasingly general and more abstract adjustments extending to define the limits of society. These individual level accommodations create a flexible and responsive division of labor for society as a whole, a balance of supply and demand, and prices that efficiently direct action and resources. Free and voluntary adjustments create a social field.

Besides minimizing violence, of which I have already said much,44 a virtue of the social field over an antifield, of the voluntary exchange society over a directed-commanded one, is that society can evolve in response to its challenges and the growing knowledge and changing interests of its people. In that lies the best possibility for growth in human justice. In the same way, a spontaneous system of expression and discovery, of freedom of thought and speech, offers the best possibility for human growth in understanding and social justice, as our ideas and beliefs adjust to others and our changing situations. In the same way I argue for freedom of speech and against a command system of truth.

To be sure, in some areas individual and private group activities affect the larger society in a way that normal field (free market) adjustments cannot solve, and therefore require some limited government intervention. Pollution control and equality of educational opportunity are prime candidates for such considerations. But when government must intervene, it should assert only general expectations about the means people and groups employ to pursue their ends. A government of free people or communities should not favor the end or goal of one over another. To minimize violence and the social problems government intervention creates--to foster a just peace--government should be blind to purposes but watchful and facilitative of their pursuit. It should be like the traffic officer in the middle of a busy intersection. He is not concerned about a driver's purpose or destination; nor with the driver's race, ethnicity, sex, religion, wealth, or education. His only interest is to facilitate the driver's orderly and safe passage through the intersection toward his chosen destination. When government becomes concerned with why people do what they do, when a government becomes end directed, it begins to turn a field into an organization with a goal, ordered by an organization chart and divided into command and obey classes. Society becomes coercive. Social violence increases. Social justice declines.

B. Welfare. The greatest boost to human welfare has come with our freedom to pursue our own lives, jobs, and business without government interference, except to maintain law and order and public morality. With the realization of this freedom in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, common people have, where the reign of individual freedom has reached furthest, fed and clothed themselves as never before, and achieved luxuries of which not even kings could dream. To recite these advances and achievements is to risk boring many readers, so much are they now taken for granted--such goods as radio, television, telephones, automobiles, electricity, commercial airplanes, diverse and exotic foreign food, cheap and plentiful books, movies, and, of course, the computer. The industrial revolution and its aftermath from which all these products or possibilities grew was really a radical revolution in freedom. As people freely used their knowledge, made their own adjustments, pursued their wants, bought and produced as they liked, and contracted for work or workers as they desired or needed, came the industrial revolution and explosion in human welfare.

Certainly we still face many welfare-resource problems, such as in "energy scarcity," unemployment, and still the existence of poor and starving people. However, these problems do not reflect a lack of government intervention, socialist policies and planning, or paternalistic programs. Rather, they largely result from government intervention itself. Where government commands adjustments from the top, coercively interferes in the voluntary accommodations among people, then major dislocations, maladjustments, and distortions in the social field occur. To wit, the so-called energy crisis (aside from its international political aspect involving the control by a few states of the oil necessary to the economies of most of the world--but even this is a problem of government intervention) is a result of government regulations and taxing policies. Were there a free energy market, which would allow spontaneous adjustments between buyer and seller, additional energy resources would be developed as they became economic; and there would be a decline in use of particular energy sources (such as oil) and a shift to alternative energy quite naturally in response to increasing prices. Free prices would manifest all the adjustments that occur in society with regard to energy; they would reflect people's expectations; and they would signal what people should do to satisfy their interests. No socialist or interventionary system has developed, or can develop, an alternative to the free market price system for distributing resources, determining wages, allocating goods. It would be the same for energy. The current energy crisis is a result of ignoring this [written in 1998: this crisis in fact ended as energy and price regulations and controls were eased or ended].

Unemployment is likewise mainly a consequence of government intervention in a free market--the attempt to command adjustments rather than allow them to voluntarily take place. Specifically, involuntary unemployment in the United States, which hits minority groups and the poor the hardest, is largely a consequence of the government-mandated minimum wage. This decreases the number of people who can be hired (which is why unions so ardently favor it) and, especially, the ability of businesses to hire trainees or apprentices who learn on the job. Were people free to work at whatever wage they and an employer agreed upon, unemployment would be less of a social problem.45

Consider that most anti-welfare scourge, inflation. Pure and simple, this is largely a result of government printing (or otherwise creating) money in excess of the growth in production of a society (which itself may be retarded by anti-capital formation taxes and regulations). As the supply of money rises relative to available goods, demand for goods increases and their prices are bid up. Inflation occurs. Governments have many reasons for purposely "printing" excess money, particularly that it is a source of revenues. Inflation is a hidden tax. It is imposed by government leaders who, fearing to increase taxes but wishing nonetheless to fund favored programs and policies, then resort to deficit spending. Were government denied this power or capability, or were government radically reduced in size such that its monetary impact was small, then inflation would cease to be a great potential or actual problem. Again, this is a matter of people freely adjusting to monetary demands and needs.46

Next, consider depression. Any free market is subject to periodic ups and downs. Economic fluctuations are a concomitant of private enterprise and serve to reallocate resources more efficiently, break up rigidities that have developed in the market, flush out incompetent or unproductive personnel who have accumulated in business during good times, and rid the market of uncompetitive firms. If the market (social field) is left alone, these booms and busts are relatively short and shallow, compared, for example, with the Great Depression of the 1930s or the combined recession-inflationary periods of today.

Now, one myth that has gained wide currency is that the depression following the October 29, 1929 stock market crash was a failure of free enterprise. In fact, the depression was caused by government intervention and manipulation of the currency.47 What further deepened and prolonged the depression were the controls and policies of President Roosevelt. Trying to ease the burdens of a depression already caused by government, he further intervened massively in the economy, thereby restricting its ability to adjust, restructure itself, and recover.

While the Depression is history obfuscated by socialist mythology, the present state of affairs in the late 1970s is easy for all to see. Huge government outlays, massive deficit spending, continued manipulation of the currency, controls over savings and lending, and other government induced monetary distortions of all kinds have now created the worst of all welfare worlds: high inflation combined with economic stagnation or recession, and individual taxes running somewhere between one-third and one-half of personal income (depending on how income is defined). No longer is there doubt about the major cause of this great contra-welfare problem. It is Big Government, specifically, a socialist-oriented government devoted to interventionist welfare policies. [Written in 1998: the free-market policies of the Reagan Administration in the 1980s and the conservative monetary controls of the Federal Researve during his tenure practically eliminated the inflation of which I wrote in the 1970s and created economic growth that we are still benefitting from today.]

C. Poverty and Hunger. Anyone concerned about mankind is particularly sensitive to the plight of the poor and starving. Indeed, a major impetus to socialist policies is to help these unfortunate people. Ironically, the centralization and use of force and coercion on their behalf has often worsened their condition, consigned many to a permanent state of poverty and dependence, and eroded their dignity,

Historically the greatest help to the poor and hungry has been the growth of an exchange society, with its attendant free market. People could find jobs or use their intelligence and skills to create employment. They could improve their social positions and quality of life. They were no longer dependent on one employer, one master, one region, one skill.48 Moreover, the diversity and cost of products, especially food, came within reach of the poor. For example, although the productivity of the free market and opportunity it makes available have been severely strained by wholesale government intervention and controls, if not outright takeovers, many of the poor in America today consider as necessities of life automobiles, television, telephones, radios, washing machines, and refrigerators, not to mention hot running water and indoor toilets. Over the past century our definition of the poor has been gradually uplifted. The poor in exchange societies are by comparison to those of history or of other social systems often very well off.

This does not mean we should be less concerned for the poor. Moreover, pockets of extreme poverty and hunger do exist in exchange societies.49 But the way to help them is not by blocking--through government rules and paternalistic policies--the means of the poor to improve themselves, and the benefits they would get from a free and expanding market. Except for emergency situations, it is best to leave helping the poor and hungry to voluntary, charitable organizations. People more fortunate or better off, many themselves emerging through their own efforts from poverty, will voluntarily provide the help, if necessary. The heyday of the free market in the nineteenth century also marked the greatest expansion in private charitable organizations ever seen. But as the government has increasingly taken from workers their earnings so as to provide welfare to the poor, it understandably has driven out or reduced much voluntary, charitable effort.

Historically, the greatest help to the poor and hungry has been the opportunity, jobs, and inexpensive products of an exchange society. Freedom best promotes human welfare.50

D. Equality. Inequalities in wealth and power are prima facie unjust to many. Inequalities of some sort, however, will always exist, since people have different capabilities, interests, and wills; have different hereditary and family backgrounds; and confront different situations. And some are simply lucky. But all this aside, what also should be realized is that some people decide not to do what is necessary to achieve reasonable wealth, power, or prestige. Some decide to drop out of school. Some would rather fish, watch television, or socialize than do hard study or work. Some simply refuse to make the sacrifices necessary to move upward, or to maintain high status for those born into it.

Nonetheless, excessive inequalities based on coercion, force, or inequalities due to unalterable physical characteristics such as race, ethnicity, or sex are unjust and should he eliminated. This is an ideal we should try to approximate, and that which does this best is the freedom of an exchange society. The great inequalities in wealth and power that existed historically and still exist today are the products of coercive and authoritarian societies. As man has become free to choose, he has become free to move up the economic and social ladder, to develop and use his knowledge, intelligence, and skills to better himself. The great gap between the powerful and weak, the rich and poor has narrowed with freedom. Even a poor person can become a millionaire;51 even an average person can become powerful.

Moreover, while culture-based intolerance of certain races, ethnic groups, and women continues to exist, it is progressively undermined by the diversity of opportunity of a free market. The color or sex of whoever made a product is usually incidental, even if known, to a buyer. If a person can provide a needed service, then his color or sex is generally irrelevant. But if such factors are important, there are other buyers or sellers, other opportunities. However, if government controls an economy, these decisions become a matter of coercive controls, enforced discrimination, and institutionalized racism or sexism. Where slavery has existed or does exist, it is a government-enforced system.


Of foremost importance is that the just peace jointly maximizes nonviolence and social justice by enabling each person to live as he considers just, consistent with the like freedom of others. That this just peace is what each would generally choose for himself freely, fairly, and impartially, were he able, is a potent argument. The burden of making this argument was borne by the social contract model of Chapter 5.

But there are other arguments for this just peace that some may consider even more important. First, it assures that people can mutually and reciprocally adjust their different conceptions and attitudes and learn through trial and error about the nature and consequences of their differing views.

Second, it constitutes a method through which the consequences of different ideas and beliefs about justice can be tested through experience. Like science, which is a truth-seeking process of learning and accumulating knowledge, the just peace is a metaethical method for gaining experience and consensus about social justice. To both science and ethics, freedom is essential. If an idea about justice is a good one, it need not be enforced with a gun, which is what socialism and authoritarianism do. People should be free to be persuaded about or discover this them selves--which they will, if the idea is really good.

Third, through a guaranteed freedom to form communities, the just peace permits each person his utopia. He can test in practice his dreams and visions, provided he can persuade others to go along. For this reason the just peace is a metautopia--it is a framework for utopias.

Fourth, the just peace is consistent with Rawls' priority principle of liberty plus his supporting political institutions. Although Rawls goes beyond the just peace in emphasizing individual liberty in his just society and he includes a second welfare principle, nonetheless there is sufficient agreement with the just peace to show that it is in line with at least one highly acclaimed and influential philosophical perspective on social justice.52

Fifth, the just peace is similar to many facets of contemporary international relations. If one can argue that the historical evolution of societies reflects the challenges they confront, the needs and interests of their members, and their general sense of social justice, then contemporary international relations shows that something like the just peace is not only supportable by a social contract model but does in fact reflect the evolution in diverse, global choices of all people through the centuries.

Finally, but surely no less important, the just peace would actually achieve a social justice that many ardently desire for their chosen community. The just peace would promote as a by-product individual adjustments, harmony and growth, social and economic welfare, and social and economic equality. It would help, as no coercive or authoritarian system could, to alleviate poverty and hunger.

Each of these arguments strengthens my case for the just peace. Together with the social contract model, they provide a rational, empirical, and humanistic basis for the just peace.


* Scanned from Chapter 8 in R.J. Rummel, The Just Peace, 1981. 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. While I differ from Ramsey's conceptualizations in a number of respects, I owe to him the basic idea of Figure 8.1 (the overlapping regions of order, power, and justice). See his The Just War (1968: particularly p. 12).

2. See Section 2.3.4.

3. See Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Section 19.7 of Chapter 19; Chapter 20).

4. See Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Sections 30.2-30.4 of Chapter 30).

5. See Section 4.4 and Section 5.2.2E-G.

6. The problem of defining morally under what conditions war is just has been of great importance and interest in the literature. See, for example, Osgood and Tucker (1967), Ramsey (1968), Tooke (1965), Tucker (1960), and Walzer (1977).

7. John Locke put the argument for just violence well:

If the innocent honest man must quietly quit all he has for peace sake to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of a peace there will be in the world which consists only in violence and rapine, and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of robbers and oppressors.

8. To state this differently, all social contracts depend on some sort of power, but not all depend on those forms of power we call force, coercion, or authority. Just contracts may depend on altruistic or exchange power, as noted in the text.

9. Interestingly, the Just Principles are consistent with Ardrey's social contract based on ethology and biological evolution. The just society, as Ardrey sees it,

is one in which sufficient order protects members, whatever their diverse endowments, and sufficient disorder provides every individual with full opportunity to develop his genetic endowment, whatever that may be. It is this balance of order and disorder, varying in rigor according to environmental hazard, that I think of as the social contract.

10. To keep the logic clear: by themselves the two Just Principles define an anarchy, but not all anarchies are consistent with the Just Principles.

11. See Nozick (1974: Part I), who analyzes whether an anarchy is stable, particularly large-scale anarcho-libertarian societies in which people can form and hire the services of mutual defense and security corporations. He concludes that the dynamics of such an anarchy lead necessarily to the formation of states and, at least, minimum governments.

12. See Section 5.2.2H.

13. Popper makes a similar point:

The rational and imaginative analysis of the consequences of a moral theory has a certain analogy in scientific method. For in science, too, we do not accept an abstract theory because it is convincing in itself, we rather decide to accept or reject it after we have investigated those concrete and practical consequences which can be more directly tested by experiment. But there is a fundamental difference. In the case of a scientific theory, our decision depends upon the results of experiments. If these confirm the theory, we may accept it until we find a better one. If they contradict the theory, we reject it. But in the case of a moral theory, we can only confront its consequences with our conscience. And while the verdict of experiments does not depend upon ourselves, the verdict of our conscience does.
----1963: Vol. II, p. 233

See also Einstein, who writes:

Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Die Wahrheit liegt in der Bewährung. Truth is what stands the test of experience.

14. Hare (1965: Section 6.2) makes the same point about the value of freedom to ethics.

15. Since we rarely have a pure just prescription to test (usually only a complex of just premises and related empirical assumptions), the test of practice is more of a point of view than of a bald statement. See also Edwards (1965).

16. See Crossman (1950) for a number of autobiographies of those who have gone through this conversion.

17. My own gradual conversion from democratic socialism to libertarianism was influenced more by learning about the consequences of socialism in practice, wherever implemented fully or partially, than by theory. Only when I had started questioning socialist claims, did libertarian writings and critiques of socialism influence me.

18. In the words of the American jurist, Learned Hand: "Justice, I think, is the tolerable accommodation of the conflicting interests of society, and I don't believe there is any royal road to attain such accommodations concretely" (from Bartletts Familiar Quotations, Fourteenth Edition).

19. Of course, there are different philosophical and cultural views of truth. That which is closest to these volumes, and my point here, is Ushenko's perspectivism. See Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (Chapter 5).

20. John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty has lost none of its excellence with age. His arguments for the value of freedom, especially in seeking truth, are no less relevant to justice.

21. This free market of ideas is very much like a free market of goods, as Friedman (1967) argues.

22. Mathematical proof has long been believed to provide an analogy to metaethical proof. Rawls (1971), for example, accepts this. So did John Locke. I do not, for the reasons given in Sections 4.2-4.3. Scientific method is different from mathematics. The former is concerned with empirically testing empirical statements; the latter involves proving that analytic statements are valid within a given analytic system.

23. This does not mean that any assertion of truth or justice has an equal claim in the balancing process. To play the scientific game requires that one's assertions meet certain requirements to be seriously considered by others. Similarly, in the game of ethics, claims of justice must meet the criteria of universalizability, practicality, morality, and so on, as discussed in Section 4.4. As scientists would ignore someone who says, "I know the earth is flat and it is flat because I know it," so would we ignore (shun?) someone who says, "It is moral that I lie whenever I want because I say so," And if one claims a perfect right to call whatever assertions scientifically true or morally just, we can only answer that he does not really understand science or justice. See Hare (1965: Chapter 6), who covers a number of other counterarguments that also might be made.

24. For a more extended argument for freedom and minimum government along these lines, see Nozick (1974). I am indebted to him for the idea of a metautopia.


What does it really mean to say that a social order is a just one? It means that this order regulates the behavior of men in a way satisfactory to all men, that is to say, so that all men find their happiness in it.
----Kelsen, 1961:6

26. I have referred to Rawls' work in a number of notes, particularly in Chapter 5. See especially Note 2 therein, which also gives the second principle.

27. The two principles of justice are in lexical order (Rawls, 1971:302). Rawls does believe, however, that in practice there will be some trade-off between the principles (1971: Section 82), although what precisely this involves is not clear. On this, see Barry (1973: Chapter 7).

28. This is an analogy and not the actual basis for choice in Rawls' original position (1971:152-153). Nonetheless, its introduction does beg misunderstanding and raises the question as to whether Rawls' principles are maxima, as he alleges, or really minima (minimizing the worst of all possibilities, since an enemy is assigning one's position).

29. See Chapter 5, Note 2.

30. See Rawls (1971:61). The meaning of equal liberty is best developed in Rawls' Chapter IV, especially Sections 32-35.

31. That is, Rawls' principle is a first-order solution to the bargaining situation in the social contract model. See Section 6.2 and Section 7.1.

32. See Rawls (1971: particularly Chapter IV).

33. Rawls (1971:197-198).

34. See Rawls (1971:212-213). He constructs an ideal Western, liberal constitutional model as a general form for all societies--all societies are to follow his two principles of justice. In no place is it clearer that Theory of Justice is Rawls' liberal intuition about justice and politics; intuition which is peculiarly parochial about the world of conflicting and diverse conceptions of justice and politics. It is no wonder that Rawls had to strip his participants in his original position of all self-knowledge and interests so that he could, in effect, reduce them all to one "objective observer"--himself.

35. Note how close his following argument is to that I independently give for the security function of a World Federation in protecting the Just Principles:

Granting all this, it now seems evident that, in limiting liberty by reference to the common interest in public order and security, the government acts on a principle that would be chosen in the original position. For in this position each recognizes that the disruption of these conditions is a danger for the liberty of all. This follows once the maintenance of public order is understood as a necessary condition for everyone's achieving his ends whatever they are (provided they lie within certain limits) and for his fulfilling his interpretation of his moral and religious obligations. To restrain liberty of conscience at the boundary, however inexact, of the state's interest in public order is a limit derived from the principle of the common interest, that is, the interest of the representative equal citizen. The government's right to maintain public order and security is an enabling right, a right which the government must have if it is to carry out its duty of impartially supporting the conditions necessary for everyone's pursuit of his interest and living up to his obligations as he understands them.
----Rawls, 1971:212-213

36. Ibid., p. 224.

37. Rawls claims that his two principles of justice are essentially Kantian (his Section 40). However, I would argue that the Just Package comes even closer to Kant's fundamental moral conception than do Rawls' two principles. As Acton (1970:43-44) points out,

maxims that transgress the moral law would lead men into subjection to rules which could not be recognized as just by everyone. These negations presuppose a positive ideal, that of a community, every member in which is respected by all the others, and in which only those rules of conduct are followed which everyone recognizes to be reasonable. This, Kant believed, is the Idea of Reason implicit in the moral principles which civilized peoples of all creeds and nations recognize. In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant had said that legislation--and he was here thinking of the laws of states--ought to be guided by the Idea--and in using this word he had Plato in mind--of a "constitution of the greatest human freedom, according to laws which enable the freedom of each to exist along with the freedom of others (without any regard to the greatest human happiness, because that must necessarily follow by itself). . ." What had appeared in the Critique of Pure Reason as a political ideal, appears in the Groundwork as the ideal presupposed in the principles of morality, and is seen to be the supreme principle of morality, the Moral Law itself.

38. See Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace (Chapter 2).

39. See Section 7.4.2.

40. I see the goals of welfare and equality as minimizing pain, hardship, and suffering.

41. The libertarian literature is extensive; I will cite only those recent works that provide the specific scholarly underpinnings for the points I will make or fuller elaboration. In particular, for free market or economic arguments, see the works of Friedman (especially 1962, but also 1968, 1972), Hayek (1944, 1954, 1967, and especially 1973-1979), Hazlitt (1959), von Mises (particularly 1951, 1966), Rothbard (1973), Schumpeter (1950). See also Hazlitt's book on morality (1964), whose arguments for a free market in relation to equality and welfare (Chapters 24-25) are quite relevant. For a pertinent general philosophical treatment of libertarianism, see Hospers (1971). Some of Popper's works are philosophically pertinent (particularly 1963, 1964).

42. The Liberation Principle does not grant the right to violate one's voluntary social contract with others. If one freely joins a community on a three-year contract (as in joining the United States Army), then one has no right to violate the contract by leaving before completing the three years of service. However, after the contract expires, no community should apply duress or coercion to get a person to renew his contract or to otherwise remain.

43. See Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Chapter 23).

44. See Section 7.4.2 and Section 8.2. I also will have more to say regarding principles of conflict resolution in Chapter 10.

45. Of course, some would cry out, "What about the worker exploited by business at a cheap wage?" I must ask, who is doing the exploiting, then? Is it the businessman who hires someone at the wage his services are worth in the market? Or is it the union that demands a nationwide mandated wage to protect its membership against competition, even though this means that nonunion workers will be unable to work? Or is it the academic with a lifetime-guaranteed job (tenure) who demands that government interfere to coercively prevent a private contract between a worker and employer because he, the academic, who knows nothing about either person involved, their needs, situation, or attitudes toward justice, feels the contract unjust?

46. One of the major means by which government regulates society and intervenes on behalf of one group or another is through its control over currency. Government has not always exclusively controlled national currencies (no more than it has always issued passports), but this control is now so extensive and universal that some people are startled by the suggestion that they should be free to mint and circulate private currencies. In reducing the central role of national government gradually and incrementally, denationalizing currency is one direction to investigate and possibly implement. See Hayek (1978).

47. Simply consider the effect on employment, demand, and prices of the 25 percent (from $25 billion to $20 billion) decrease in the money supply from 1929 to 1933 forced on the country by the Federal Reserve System. Although bank failures (themselves a consequence of Federal Reserve policy), are often attributed as the cause, since they are more obvious and dramatic (and they did affect economic psychology), the loss in wealth they caused was only one percent of available money by comparison. See, for example, Alchian and Allen (1972:712).

48. I must unfortunately ignore many arguments that have persuaded welfare liberals and socialists that classical liberalism simply did not work well. One is that freedom in England and America meant mass exploitation by unscrupulous factory owners who hired the poor--including children--to work under horrible conditions while paying starvation wages. Only with the growth of unions, government regulation, and labor laws, was this exploitive system reformed. However, historical analysis (that is not anticapitalist to begin with) does not support this view. Indeed, what is shown is that the conditions of the working person and his quality of life generally turned out to be much better under early "rapacious" capitalism than under the feudal and guild oriented government command system that preceded it; and that through free competition the conditions of the working person improved, not because of unions or government, but often in spite of them. See, for example, Hayek (1954).

49. My knowledge of this is not entirely abstract. Most of my youth was spent in extreme poverty (without government welfare) and I have known starvation.

50. But what about conservation, pollution, resource exhaustion, environmental degradation, and the like? As ingredients in our quality of life, are these aspects of welfare not important? And do they not require government action? While the free market's ability to handle such problems is often underrated, I quite agree that concerning certain neighborhood effects of freedom, such as pollution, government has a positive role. But this role need not involve extensive government regulation and an oppressive bureaucracy. Instead, government can facilitate the free market adjustments necessary to handle these problems by providing the proper general laws and courts to adjudicate disputes over them, such that a structure of expectations surrounding and resolving these problems could evolve. Regarding pollution, for example, general laws could liberalize the ability of citizens or groups to sue polluters for alleged damages to their health, welfare, or goods. All the tacky empirical and value questions about pollution are not then decided in the abstract by politicians responding to special interests or by bureaucrats operating in their own world, but by the slow accumulation of legal expectations growing from diverse conflicts mediated by the courts.

51. Too often, intellectuals equate millionaires with financial or business tycoons, land speculators, or Texas oilmen. Yet many have become millionaires through sports, acting, singing, writing, inventing, politics, and even authoring textbooks.

52. With regard to ethics generally, the just peace is consistent with the philosophical work of Edwards (1965), Hare (1965), Hospers (1971), Kant (1952, 1965), Nozick (1974), and Popper (1963). The reason I emphasize Rawls here is because of his similar use of a social contract model and the contemporary domination of his book, A Theory of Justice.

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

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