Is world peace achievable?
- The World Population Review ranked Iceland, which has 'taken the top spot for 14 years in a row,' as the most peaceful country globally in 2021.
- According to a Pew Research Center survey, 'roughly seven-in-ten Americans (73%) say that good diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace.'
- The 2021 Global Peace Index documents how 'the gap between the least and most peaceful countries continues to grow. Since 2008, the 25 least peaceful countries declined on average by 12.1 per cent, while the 25 most peaceful countries improved by 4.3 per cent.'
- VisionofHumanity.org declares that 'the 2021 Economic Value of Peace report shows that the global economic impact of violence is estimated to be $14.4 trillion.'
- Gerald Holtom designed the 'peace symbol' (☮) in 1958 to be the symbol of 'nuclear disarmament' during the conflict of the Cold War arms race.
With humankind having witnessed fewer wars between countries since 1945, experts argue world peace is most likely only a few decades away. Ultimately, research shows world peace will become achievable once all of mankind believes it to be so. And though it may seem to be an impossible feat to get all of humanity to agree on something, it is arguable that it is in the best interest of all people to live in a world without violence. Psychologists believe it is in human nature to be more compassionate than we are cruel, for most individuals are not habitually violent and have no desire to cause suffering. Thus, a future where humans do not rely on organized violence is theoretically possible.
Evidence today also shows a major shift occurring in human discourse, with communities now evolving to prioritize social justice, equality, and environmental issues, which are all matters that require collective efforts to retain peace. Some experts have even deemed this shift to be an 'explosion in empathetic behavior,' which will likely solidify with time. The rise of social media has also made the world more connected than ever, meaning government tactics meant to promote nationalism—once the major marketing machine for wars—are no longer as effective. Researchers also find technology has had and will continue to have a significant role in making the world more cooperative. With modern tech helping to improve well-being across all parts of the world, communities will inherently face lesser struggles, contributing to a reduced likelihood of major conflicts.
Humans are hardwired to seek health and safety and fight for survival. Throughout history, humankind has fought for more land, resources, money, and power. Charles Darwin called this behavior' survival of the fittest.'
Humans have historically started, ended, and reignited wars. Despite technological, academic, and societal advancements, man has found new ways to kill each other. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank says that world peace remains elusive because the nature of warfare has changed. In this modern era, drones, civil unrest, geopolitics, and non-state actors have largely replaced WW2-styled skirmishes.
The horrendous death tolls we know from last century's conflicts might be lower in today's conflicts, but the world isn't any safer. There are twice as many civil conflicts today than there were in 2001.
War begets war as natives flee to safer lands in search of rest. This has led to a surge in anti-immigrant sentiment, especially in Western democracies. Conversely, some world leaders, such as China and North Korea, have adopted Karl Marx's communist utopian ideals. But the brutal reality is that communism is anything but peaceful or utopian; regimes idolizing communistic ideals are what made the 20th century the 'bloodiest' in history, having caused around 100 million deaths. Novelist George SheryOrwell likened a system imposed on a large populace as similar to tyranny. Billions continue to suffer. North Korea is known to hold between 70,000-130,000 in concentration camps.
Lastly, state-sponsored violence has seen a resurgence. Gregory Stanton (Genocide Watch Group), who previously predicted the 1994 Rwandan genocide, says that India, one of the biggest democracies in the world, is headed towards a religious breaking point of Muslims pitted against Hindus. Be it democracy or dictatorship, world peace remains elusive as ever.