There will be blood
At first glance, it may sound ridiculous to compare the cost, human or else, of armed conflicts versus trade wars. But there’s actually more to it. History has thus proven that both world wars can in part be attributed to conflicts over trade. Did you for instance know that starting from 1913, the world began to stop pegging their currencies to gold which meant they devalued their currencies to compete for export markets? As soon as the First World War was over, the currency war started across Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Inevitably these kind of wars stoke the nationalistic sentiment within their countries (“Make X Great Again” anyone?) – and trigger weaponised wars.
But does history repeat itself? The world has significantly changed since the world wars: trade has become increasingly globalised, and “real” wars kill far fewer people than they used to. If anything, nuclear weapons have acted as the intended deterrent (hence the “Cold” war until the end of the Soviet Union). So it would appear that trade wars have increasingly become more harmful while armed conflicts appear to have followed the opposite course.
But not so fast, young Padawan. New weapons have sprung up – biological weapons, among other ones, which states are not shying away from using: remember the Salisbury attacks or the assassination of Kim’s half brother? Those happened in the past 2 years only. What if they happened at scale? Chilling thought, but not completely impossible. It’s not as if heads of state were all sane of mind, are they? Likewise, it’s become increasingly difficult to engage in a one-sided tariff war that would only affect the target country, naively believing it would not backfire.
The flip of a coin has ruled that Dirk will defend the motion that trade wars are indeed more harmful than military wars, while Sebastian will claim this is a heresy. Tune in to listen to our latest episode – and more as we, as usual, continued the discussion beyond our allocated time for the debate!
Rest assured that whatever happens and however fiercely critical we can be when we debate, we do come in peace – said the one still bloodily reeling from Dirk’s punches, kicks and cunning audio-editing :).
Sebastian (as innocent as a lamb) & Dirk (a.k.a. Hannibal L.)