Peace Is Very Hard To Sell
Often when I talk about Peace Economics to a conservative it gets translated into “Why are you against the military? Don’t you want to defend our nation?” So many people have friends and family in the military that any mention at all threatens them or their friends and family. Opinion polls reflect this, with the military and the clergy at about 60% approval while press, congress and used car salespersons are in the bottom under 40%.
One of the main reasons I call my website realeconomy.com rather than peace economics is to try to avoid the knee jerk reaction that comes with the term “peace.” Even though soldiers or future soldiers often get interested in peace studies, because we all say we want peace, using the term peace often leads to a verbal war breaking out. Once I got a long way down the road explaining my work when all of a sudden the other person sensed a political agenda, asked a loaded question and abruptly stopped listening and walked away after a few choice words. Sometimes reason takes you a long way down the path until such a moment occurs. Working on my dissertation, one peace studies director told me he got along just fine in a bar talking about Irish History, but usually was ostracized when he said he teaches peace studies.
Many academics react negatively to the idea of selling or marketing peace. This is strange when teaching social movements is not a problem to them, but even hint at business or politics and watch them run for the hills. All campaigns, issue, politics, or business, involve branding or slogans to get their ideas across. Yet I am often chastised for using the concept “Dr. Peace.” Academics and activists often go together in a field like peace and justice studies. Very few peace studies programs are in departments of their own, most are interdisciplinary programs. Sometimes publishing in peer reviewed peace journals can be excluded for use for tenure by department chairs from other disciplines. My dissertation showed that most schools have an average of ten interdisciplinary programs with the tenure problem, yet silos are often the rule, unless a college adopts special procedures to make sure interdisciplinary professors don’t get left behind. One school put all there interdisciplinary programs into one department, greatly improving the tenure situation.
Business and Peace
Unfortunately I didn’t survey for it directly in my dissertation, but I found that programs that got along well with the business school generally faired much better than those that had hostile relations with the business school. As one director put it, conflict resolution is a useful class in both peace studies and business, and can be useful to bring students from both programs in contact with each other. One program that got a start from two business professors later excluded those business professors from the program.
Academics and Peace
The antipathy towards marketing is often selective; some freely hawk their new books and or speaking tours, while others are castigated for being too self promotional. I guess a little activism on the side is okay, but someone with too much political or business background is open season to discriminate against.
Economics and Peace
Economics is a dirty word to many people. Many think of an emphasis on economics as an emphasis on depersonalized treatment of people. So when I propose a presentation on a hundred year history of military spending it is reject by the Peace History Society and accepted by the Business and Economic History Society. And after my presentation to the Business and Economic History Society, they have twice requested that I submit a paper to their journal. Once again the humanities and business gap in academia rears its ugly head. In my dissertation study of 32 Midwest peace studies programs, none of them were directed by an economist at the time of the survey.
Interdisciplinary and Peace
Peace Studies is rightly proud of its interdisciplinary approach. Yet is the interdisciplinary approach limited to social sciences and humanities? All 32 director responses fit one of those two categories. Political Science had nine for the social sciences, while theology religion and philosophy had nine for the humanities. Nothing from math, science, military science, engineering, business, accounting, peace economics, or global warming. That seems to me to be eight very big omissions. That eliminates eight of the nine fields I found essential to my understanding of peace economics, with politics the only overlapping category.
Here are the “nine areas of mastery” (on the front page of my resume) I found necessary to understand and create peace economics:
Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on academia.edu.
Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,
Real Economy Institute, Madison,Wisconsin