But parallel to these political events and tensions, the global economy kept growing, spreading the benefits of industrialization and trade to more and more people in more and more countries. The more obvious the connection became between basic economic freedom and rising standards of living, the harder it became for even the most authoritarian regimes to resist the push for freer markets. Dire poverty has now been all but eradicated and real economic security is commonplace. And as people have more to live for, they are less willing to die for their countries. Pragmatic negotiations have become more attractive, and violent conflict less so.
The change that humanity has undergone can be summed up by a simple but profound slogan: Make trade, not war. As we have become more accustomed to seeing our neighbours as potential trading partners in positive-sum exchanges, killing them no longer seems to make a lot of sense. We remember today the wars of the past, that we might better appreciate our present peace and extend it indefinitely into the future.