Documents on
In relation to the limits to growth and The Simpler Way.



"...warfare appears as a normal and periodic form of competition within the capitalist world economy." p. 108.
" wars regularly occur during a period of economic expansion." p. 163.

Statements referred to by C. Chase-Dunn, Global Formation, 1989.

"War is an inevitable result of the struggle between economies for expansion."

R.A. Nettleship, War: Its Causes and Correlates, The Hague, Mouton, 1975, p. 497.

Choucri and North say their most important finding is that domestic growth is a strong determinant of national expansion and that this results in competition between nations and war.

N. Choucri and R.S. North Nations in Conflict, San Francisco, Freeman, 1975, p. 278.

General M.D. Taylor, U.S. Army retired argues "...U.S. military priorities must be shifted towards insuring a steady flow of resources from the Third World." Taylor referred to "...fierce competition among industrial powers for the same raw materials markets sought by the United States" and "... growing hostility displayed by have-not nations towards their affluent counterparts."

J.M. Cypher, "The basic economics of rearming America", Monthly Review, No. 1981, pp. 16-18.

"Struggles are taking place, or are in the offing, between rich and poor nations over their share of the world product; within the industrial world over their share of industrial resources and markets".

D.R. Barnet "Multinationals in Third World Development", Multinational Monitor, 1980, p.29.

"That more than half of the people on this planet are poorly nourished while a small percentage live in historically unparalleled luxury is a sure recipe for continued and even escalating international conflict."

Australian Ecological Party Manifesto, 1980.

The U.S. Council on Economics and National Security has recently stated, "America's economic well-being and its national security are both threatened by the increasing inability of the U.S.. and the West in general to guarantee access to the energy and non-fuel mineral resources upon which our industrial economy is built... We may be entering an era that some future historian will call 'the resource war'."

A White Paper: The Resource War and the U.S. Business Community, (CENS, Washington.)

World War II was largely about imperial grabbing. Germany, Italy and Japan wanted to expand into territory and resources. But Britain already held much of the world within its empire…which it had fought 72 wars to grab!
World War 1 was about "international rivalry for markets, raw materials and colonies." Nelson and Olen.

"According to the Secretary of State for the US, Alexander Haig, the efforts by the Soviet Union to extend its influence in Africa are the beginning rounds of a "resource war" aimed at the United States and its industrial allies. Haig was particularly concerned about cobalt and manganese, for which the US is 100% dependent on imports. Most comes from USSR and Africa.  "America thus has a vital interest in the survival of South Africa as a Western ally." "It is hardly coincidental that African nations that contain the greatest reserves of strategic minerals also abound in Russian, East German and Cuban military personnel we are in a war, whether guns are being fired or not."

K. Knight and P. Behr, "Strategic minerals acquire news prominence in US", The Guardian, 15th April, 1981.

"…the antagonism between the developed and the underdeveloped nations of the world seems certain to increase. The stage is set for an intensification of international rivalry."

R. Heilbronner, Business Civilization in Decline, 1976, p. 107.

"Struggles are taking place, or are in the offing, between rich and poor nations over their share of he world product, within the industrial world over their share of industrial resources and markets."

D.R. Barnet, "Multinationals in Third World development", Multinational Monitor, 1980, p. 29.

"Finite resources in a world of expanding populations and increasing per capita demands create a situation ripe for international violence."

P. Ehrlich, et al., Ecoscience, 1977, p. 909.

"…the prospects for deadly competition among (developed nations) … also growing rapidly. Major areas of competition will be for agricultural products, fisheries yields, minerals and energy, (especially petroleum)."
After discussing conflict over fisheries resources they say, "More dangerous, however, may be he competition among ove-developed countries, especially the US, Japan and the nations of western Europe, for he petroleum and other mineral resources of the Third World."

P. and A. Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, 1974, p 95.

US Secretary of Defence Brown was reported in 1970 as saying, The S and the Soviet Union could be dragged into a Third World conflict where access to natural resource is at stake.

Australian, 4th Jan, 1979, p. 6.

"In the last analysis, modern wars are the result of intense economic competition for markets, investments outlets and raw materials." "We now face the prospect of vicious competition between American, Japanese and EEC corporations in all parts of the world."

R. Jenkins, Exploitation, 1970, 297, 211.

“…failing a new global contract across the regions and social classes within regions, there is little doubt that a fierce struggle for world resources will inevitably ensue."

R. Kothari, Towards a Just World, 1980, p. 40.

In a report entitled, "The rich prize that is Shaba", Breeze begins, "Increasing rivalry over a share-out between France and Belgium of the mineral riches of Shaba Province lies behind the joint Franco-Belgian paratroop airlift to Zaire." "These mineral riches make the province a valuable prize and help explain the West’s extended diplomatic courtship economic mismanagement and corruption.

Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March, 1978.

"Political instability in Africa provides the Soviet Union with a golden opportunity to get control of the bulk of the world’s strategic minerals.  Defence and key industries of the United States, Western Europe, Japan and even China are now heavily dependent on imports of those critical materials from southern Africa.

The Bulletin, 15th May, 1979l.

US Secretary of State Vance recently insisted, "We must not lose Zimbabwe."

New Internationalist, Dec., 1980, p 3.

In an article entitled "Getting serious about strategic minerals", Holden says, ve the past decade there has been growing concern about the Soviet Union’s attempts to move in on mineral rich areas of the world.

D. Holden, Science, 17th April, 1981, p. 305.

The deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Vice Chancellor of the University of New South Wales have both expressed the view that Australia should export its uranium to Japan or the Japanese will soon have to invade Australia to get it, so dependent are they on energy imports.

Sydney Morning Herald, 30th March, 1976.

"War is mainly explicable in terms of differential growth in a world of scarce and unevenly distributed resources. "Expansion is a prime source of conflict. So long as the dynamics of differential growth remain unmanaged, it is probable that these long term processes will sooner or later carry major powers into war."

R. Ashsley, The Political Economy of War and Peace, 1980, p. 3, 126.

"The resource and energy intensive modes of production employed in nearly all industries necessitate continuing armed coercion and competition to secure raw materials."

Spretnak and F. Capra, Green Politics, 1984, p. 67.

Statements concerning oil, in the late 1970s.
The Middle East is a powder keg largely because it is the region from which the developed countries draw most of their oil. They must therefore be willing to arm and to prop up regimes favourably inclined to the rich countries, to do everything possible to thwart Russian intentions in the region, and to prevent ruling elites from being won over by the Russians. Hence aid and arms are pumped in and efforts are made to back particular factions in local coups and bushfire wars.
The oil embargo placed on the US by OPEC in the early 1970s provoked the Americans into making it clear that they were prepared to go to war in order to secure supplies. "President Carter last week issued a clear warning that any attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf would lead to war." It would "…be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States."

H. Jackson, "US ready to fight for gulf.", The Guardian, 3rd Feb., 1980.

The US has 11,000 troops available for use in the Middle East or Third World to protect oil supplies."

Sydney Morning Herald, 26th June, 1979.

"The US is ready to take military action if Russia threatens vital American interests in the Persian Gulf, the US Secretary of Defence, Mr. Brown, said yesterday."

Australian, 27th Feb., 1979.

Access by developed countries to resources and markets also underlies many of the tensions and the outbreaks of war that continually fester all around the globe. In these cases the super powers are usually heavily involved in supporting one faction or toppling a regime or supplying advice and arms, in an effort to end up on the winning side.

Shortage of oil driving Soviets to Gulf. The Australian, 12th Nov, 1981, and The Australian, 24th Jan, 1980.

The turmoil in Iran cannot be divorced from the billions of dollars in military equipment given or sold by the Americans to the Shah, the Wests regional policeman. In 1980 the Canadian minister for external affairs…warned that energy starved Russia was planning to move against the major oil-producing nations Referring to the Russian move into Afghanistan she said, I think their eyes are fixed on the Persian "Gulf., the oil fields sof the Middle East. That is really the basis of what this is all about a struggle for oil."

Australian 24th Jan., 1980.

General Smedley Butler’s frequently quoted statement:
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested."


The southward drive of the Japanese imperial Army in the 1940s was prompted primarily by the need to gain access to Indonesia's natural resources, particularly petroleum.  182

C. Budiardjo, "Indonesia; Mass Extermination and the Consolidation of Authoritarian Power", Ch. 8 in A. George, Western State Terrorism, Polity, 1991.

“…continued growth is a threat to international peace because international institutions permit the already over-consuming North to grow at the expense of the under-consuming South. With the citizens of the South aspiring to the consumption standards of the North, a North-to-South redistribution of wealth is the only way to avoid a global ecological catastrophe. The North simply cannot expect the South to remain poor to save the planet while it continues to over-consume. Redistribution at the international level must inevitably lead to international tension. Avoiding conflict will require international co-operation and diplomacy on a scale never before demanded.

Might as well face it, we're addicted to growth, by Philip Lawn , School of Economics, Flinders University, South Australia.

At the beginning of World War II the Japanese were becoming competitive so the
British blocked them, by preventing trade with their empire.

Ellen  Brown, “Greece, Ireland, Latvia may lead the way”, Global Research,  22nd Dec., 2009.

 Before WWII the Japanese had obtained their oil from the US.  “The US cut off oil exports to Japan from a few months  before Pearl Harbour, probably triggering that event…”  p. 22  “The Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies was prompted by its need for access to oil.”

“The German invasion of southern Russia was aimed at the oil resources of the Caspian region.”

R. Ayres, The Economic Growth Engine, Elgar, 2009.

Hot and Cold Wars for Oil
In terms of rich oil reserves of the Persian Gulf region, as Michael Klare observes,
First to spar were Great Britain and czarist Russia, later joined by France,
Germany, and the United States. By the end of the twentieth century,
safeguarding the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf had become one of the
most important functions of the U.S. military establishment (Klare 2004:x).


The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was in part prompted by
the American decision to cut off oil exports to Japan earlier that year (Heinberg
2006:54). Prior to this event, Japan had relied very heavily on imported oil from the
United States and invaded the Dutch East Indies in part to access its rich oil fields.

The 1953 coup in Iran orchestrated by the United States and UK resulting in the
overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh was in large part prompted by his call to
nationalize the country’s oil fields.

“...oil is the single most important strategic factor governing U.S. ambitions in the Middle East.” 

(Monthly Review editors 2002).