World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within and among all people and nations on Planet Earth. This idea of world nonviolence is one motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that has this objective. Different cultures, religions, philosophies, and organizations have varying concepts on how such a state would come about.
The term is traced back to the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigned AD 117 – 138) but the concept is as old as recorded history. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, the founder of the Paneuropean Union, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, argued that after the war the United States is bound to take "command of the skies" to ensure the lasting world peace:
But the inauguration of such a glorious century of peace demands from us abandonment of old conceptions of peace. The new Angel of Peace must no longer be pictured as a charming but helpless lady with an olive branch in her hand, but like the Goddess of Justice with a balance in her left and a sword in her right; or like the Archangel Michael, with a fiery sword and wings of steel, fighting the devil to restore and protect the peace of heaven.
In fact, near the entrance to the headquarters of the SAC at Offutt Air Force Base stands a large sign with a SAC emblem and its motto: "Peace is our profession." The motto "was a staggering paradox that was also completely accurate". One SAC Bomber—Convair B-36—is called Peacemaker and one inter-continental missile-LGM-118-Peacekeeper.
In 2016, former US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter envisaged that the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific will make the region "peaceful" through "strength":
You, and your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will solidify the rebalance, you will make this network work, and you will help the Asia-Pacific ... realize a principled and peaceful and prosperous future. And play the role only America can play ... You'll do so with strength.
Introduction to US National Security and Defense Strategies of 2018 states: The US force posture combined with the allies will "preserve peace through strength". The document proceeds to detail what "achieving peace through strength requires".
According to the dialectic materialist theory of Karl Marx, humanity is divided in just two classes in capitalism: the proletarians - that do not possess the means of production, and the bourgeoisie - that possesses the means of production; once that the communist revolution, that shall abolish the private propriety of the means of production, have happened, humanity will not be divided anymore and a lot of changes will happen. Through a period called socialism the rule of the proletariat will take charge of getting rid of the last vestiges of capitalism, and help to make the revolution worldwide. Once the private propriety have been abolished worldwide, the state will not longer be useful and will disappear, because the government only exists to protect the dominant class, effectively dominating with violence and fear the submitted class, but there will not be classes anymore, and therefore none will require to dominate anyone. Instead organisations of workers will manage the production of things, but no organisation will have any military power, neither police force nor prisons.
The main principle of Marx's theory is that the material conditions limit the spiritual conditions. People will not be violent but respecting, peaceful and altruistic, because the material conditions will finally allow them to be so. They will no longer need to live just aiming to earn money, but to live to develop themselves spiritually. With the material problems solved, and everyone receiving education and being provided the appropriate circumstances for their intellectual development, there will not any problems, and society will work getting from each one what one has the capacity to give and providing to each one what one needs.
In her essay "The Roots of War", Ayn Rand held that the major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones and that capitalism gave mankind the longest period of peace in history—a period during which there were no wars involving the entire civilized world—from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, with the exceptions of the Franco-Prussian War (1870), the Spanish–American War (1898), and the American Civil War (1861–1865), which notably occurred in perhaps the most liberal economy in the world at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
Proponents of Cobdenism claim that by removing tariffs and creating international free trade wars would become impossible, because free trade prevents a nation from becoming self-sufficient, which is a requirement for long wars.
However, free trade does not prevent a nation from establishing some sort of emergency plan to become temporarily self-sufficient in case of war or that a nation could simply acquire what it needs from a different nation. A good example of this is World War I, during which both Britain and Germany became partially self-sufficient. This is particularly important because Germany had no plan for creating a war economy.
More generally, free trade—while not making wars impossible—can make wars, and restrictions on trade caused by wars, very costly for international companies with production, research, and sales in many different nations. Thus, a powerful lobby—unless there are only national companies—will argue against wars.
Mutual assured destruction
Mutual assured destruction is a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both belligerents. Proponents of the policy of mutual assured destruction during the Cold War attributed this to the increase in the lethality of war to the point where it no longer offers the possibility of a net gain for either side, thereby making wars pointless.
After World War II, the United Nations was established by the United Nations Charter to "save successive generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind" (Preamble). The Preamble to the United Nations Charter also aims to further the adoption of fundamental human rights, to respect obligations to sources of international law as well as to unite the strength of independent countries in order to maintain international peace and security. All treaties on international human rights law make reference to or consider "the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and "peace in the world".
Gordon B. Hinckley saw a trend in national politics by which city-states and nation-states have unified and suggests that the international arena will eventually follow suit. Many countries such as China, Italy, the United States, Australia, Germany, India and Britain have unified into single nation-states with others like the European Union following suit, suggesting that further globalization will bring about a world state.
World peace has been depicted as a consequence of local, self-determined behaviors that inhibit the institutionalization of power and ensuing violence. The solution is not so much based on an agreed agenda, or an investment in higher authority whether divine or political, but rather a self-organized network of mutually supportive mechanisms, resulting in a viable politico-economic social fabric. The principal technique for inducing convergence is thought experiment, namely backcasting, enabling anyone to participate no matter what cultural background, religious doctrine, political affiliation or age demographic. Similar collaborative mechanisms are emerging from the Internet around open-source projects, including Wikipedia, and the evolution of other social media.
Economic norms theory
Economic norms theory links economic conditions with institutions of governance and conflict, distinguishing personal clientelist economies from impersonal market-oriented ones, identifying the latter with permanent peace within and between nations.
Through most of human history, societies have been based on personal relations: individuals in groups know each other and exchange favors. Today in most lower-income societies hierarchies of groups distribute wealth based on personal relationships among group leaders, a process often linked with clientelism and corruption. Michael Mousseau argues that in this kind of socio-economy conflict is always present, latent or overt, because individuals depend on their groups for physical and economic security and are thus loyal to their groups rather than their states, and because groups are in a constant state of conflict over access to state coffers. Through processes of bounded rationality, people are conditioned towards strong in-group identities and are easily swayed to fear outsiders, psychological predispositions that make possible sectarian violence, genocide, and terrorism.
Market-oriented socio-economies are integrated not with personal ties but the impersonal force of the market where most individuals are economically dependent on trusting strangers in contracts enforced by the state. This creates loyalty to a state that enforces the rule of law and contracts impartially and reliably and provides equal protection in the freedom to contract – that is, liberal democracy. Wars cannot happen within or between nations with market-integrated economies because war requires the harming of others, and in these kinds of economies everyone is always economically better off when others in the market are also better off, not worse off. Rather than fight, citizens in market-oriented socio-economies care deeply about everyone's rights and welfare, so they demand economic growth at home and economic cooperation and human rights abroad. In fact, nations with market-oriented socio-economies tend to agree on global issues and not a single fatality has occurred in any dispute between them.
Economic norms theory should not be confused with classical liberal theory. The latter assumes that markets are natural and that freer markets promote wealth. In contrast, Economic norms theory shows how market-contracting is a learned norm, and state spending, regulation, and redistribution are necessary to ensure that almost everyone can participate in the "social market" economy, which is in everyone's interests. One proposed mechanism for world peace involves consumer purchasing of renewable and equitable local food and power sources involving artificial photosynthesis ushering in a period of social and ecological harmony known as the Sustainocene.