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Posted on May 8th, 2012, by

Peace and Prosperity are probably the most repeated words in the contemporary world but, unfortunately they remain a kind of unachievable ideal, a Promised Land that cannot be found. Not surprisingly that many specialists attempt to find their own recipe of achieving peace and prosperity of human society. Among such specialists may be singled out William Eric Davis who conveyed his basic ideas and views on the world order that could be based on peace and prosperity in the book Peace and Prosperity in an Age of Incivility. To a certain extent the author did not reveal some new truths that have not been revealed ever before. Nonetheless, the author has managed to convey actually trivial ideas in quite an understandable and perceivable form. Generally speaking about his book, it is necessary to underline that the key word of Davis’s work is balance’ which in a combination of the contemporary notion of democracy should form, according to the author, such a social order when peace and prosperity could really become a part of the life of the human society within different nations as well as worldwide.

Naturally, it is always important to analyze such concepts that are supposed to offer the world community a receipt of peace and prosperity. In such a situation, it is necessary to discuss the basic ideas of Davis’s book and the way he conveyed his ideas to readers that make his arguments very persuading.

First of all, it should be said that William Eric Davis analyzes in his book the current situation in the world at large and in different states in particular. For instance, he amply discusses the situation in the US and the socio-economic and political development of the state as well as he analyzes in depth the conflict in the Middle East, attempting to trace its causes, and his analysis is not limited by these two regions only. It should be pointed out that, as a rule, the author uses such a variety of absolutely different states and conflicts in order to emphasize the contrast between the states that corresponds to his ideal view on the best socio-economic and political order at which peace and prosperity is achieved and the states which suffer from violence, wars and poverty.

In such a situation, it is worthy to dwell upon the author’s views on the conditions which can contribute to the progress of peace and provide nations with prosperity. It should be pointed out that William Eric Davis indicates at the creation of a balance as an essential condition of pace and prosperity but the balance should include quite a wide range of notions. To put it more precisely, the author suggests that balancing the values of liberty, order or virtue, and equality in a nation’s policy and law maximizes a nation’s peace and prosperity. What is meant here is the fact that it is necessary to provide a nation with a liberty, order and equality in equal parts without any significant shifts in favor of one of the key concept of the equilibrium.

Naturally, in order to better understand the author’s concept, it is necessary to discuss in details each of the key notions mentioned above and the necessity of their balance. In this respect, it is worthy to note that liberty is viewed by William Eric Davies as an essential condition of democracy and free development of the society at large and each individual in particular. This is why in order to provide the social and personal progress it is necessary to provide liberty for each individual within the society and legislatively guarantee the basic rights and freedoms of each citizen.

This will naturally lead to the progress of liberty within the whole society where each individual will have ample opportunities to realize his/her abilities, ideas, and wishes that apparently contributes to the prosperity of the whole society where liberty provides better implementation of innovations, personal freedom stimulates creativity, and consequently creates new opportunities for self-realization and progress.

At the same time, it is also very important that the author clearly realizes the potential danger when liberty, order and equality are imbalanced. In respect to liberty, it should be said that when it is dominating in the socio-economic and political relations it may influence negatively on the development of society and the situation within the state as well as in international relations. The problem is that liberty cannot be absolutely unlimited, or to put it more precisely, absolutely unregulated because it may lead to disastrous results. The reason is that if liberty of an individual is not regulated than there is no limits where the liberty of one individual ends and the liberty of another one starts. Such a situation naturally leads to misbalance in relations between individuals and, consequently, it undermines social stability that is apparently one of the key conditions of prosperity and peace within the society and in international relations since an unstable state is a potential threat for its neighbors or even for the world community.

As a result, it is necessary to regulate liberty somehow that implies the order as another key concept of Davis’s views on peace and prosperity. In fact order is the essential set of rules and regulations that creates conditions for realization of liberty of each individual without violation of liberty, rights and freedom of other individuals. In this respect, it should be pointed out that the author is quite logical since he suggest the development of rules of a game where each player will obey to the same rules but remain free in his actions at the same time until the moment he/she violates the liberty and rights of another individual.

By the way, such a reference to a game terms is not occasional because the basic game theory is one of the two main methods William Eric Davis uses in his book to make his arguments more persuading and understandable for readers regardless their educational level that makes his book equally interesting for an average reader as well as for specialists.

It should be also said that for the same purpose the author uses special theory to convey his ideas clearly to readers.

At the same time, it should be pointed out that the book combines a variety of theories from different fields, including cultural, social, political, and economic theories which contribute to the positive perception of the book by different readers. In such a way the author manages to make his book understandable for mass reader and keep specialists interested in the theoretical concepts of the book at the same time.

Returning to the theoretical contents of the book, it should be pointed out that, in addition to liberty and order, William Eric Davis suggest another essential condition of the ideal balance leading to peace and prosperity in the society equality. And again it is hardly possible to argue with the author that liberty and order alone are not sufficient for normal and stable development of human society. Obviously, equality is also extremely important because it provides the equal rights and opportunities for all citizens and what is more make all of them equally obedient to regulations and rules that actually for the order. In other words equality seems to be that third constituent of the equilibrium that creates conditions for prosperity and peace. To put it more precisely, order is essential because liberty and order may be used in different ways if citizens are not equal. In fact, the players may be free and play according to the rules but these rules may be used differently by different players, i.e. some players may have more freedom and rights while others less because of the inequality in the rules. As a result, all citizens should be equal and, consequently, liberty and order should also be equal for each citizen without exception.

However, it is still possible to point out that the book written by William Eric Davis is to a significant extent idealized. Naturally, it is necessary to agree that the achievements of American democracy based on the principles of liberty, order and equality are great and that the author is probably right estimating that this state has managed to practically achieve the balance of liberty, order and equality but still there is an impression that he still omits a number of important factors that also produce a serious impact on peace and prosperity within a nation and worldwide. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that the regulations of human relations is very important and extremely difficult since potentially any attempts to set certain regulations can threaten to the transformation of a democratic state into totalitarian one while the lack of regulations may lead to anarchy.

At the same time, it is also very important to pay attention to economic development of nations since the economic backwardness may lead to the numerous problems within a state as well as in international relation. In such a situation peace and prosperity seems to be unachievable for developing states, for instance, while developed ones will keep prosper due to their dominance in the world economy.

Nonetheless, the book is quite noteworthy since its basic principles are obviously right but naturally the recipe of William Eric Davis is not perfect. On the other hand, how could it be perfect when the author writes about peace and prosperity?

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