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The Bioeconomics of Peace & Conflict
A Call for Proposals (CfP)

Topher L. McDougal, PhD
Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Jurgen Brauer, PhD
Emeritus Professor of Economics, Augusta University, Augusta, GA, USA

J. Paul Dunne, PhD
Professor of Economics, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

We are likely living during -- or perhaps just slightly after -- the most peaceful period in all of human history. Yet levels of violence against the non-human inhabitants of this planet have never been higher than today. The violent death rate globally has plummeted from as high as 30% during the formation of early societies to just 0.5% in 2010 -- a drop of up to 98%. Conversely, we are currently experiencing the Earth's sixth great mass extinction event in the roughly 4 billion years since life is thought to have first evolved. The present moment is characterized by the loss of literally billions of local or regional animal populations, and over half of all non-human animals on Earth. These two observations -- stylized and generalized though they may be -- are not simply coincidental; rather, they are deeply intertwined. This relationship between the historically low levels of violence that human societies now enjoy, and the anthropogenic degradation of natural systems is unpleasant to contemplate, yet equally undeniable. Evidence is mounting that unprecedented economic growth experienced by human societies has induced a state of crisis for the Earth’s ecological systems. Many of the public goods provided by them – fresh water, clean air, abundant fisheries, nutritious soils, low sea levels, and moderate weather, to name a few – are increasingly at risk. Their failure poses existential threats to the societies humans have collectively built over millennia, and heightens the risk of violent conflict. Accordingly, economists are increasingly challenged to think creatively about the intersections between sustainability and conflict.

The Economics of Peace & Security Journal (EPSJ) will convene a group of distinguished and emerging scholars to contribute to a special issue on the “Bioeconomics of Peace & Conflict”. This Call for Proposals (CfP) invites explorations of key themes in the intersectional space between sustainability and peacebuilding, including:
Modeling forms of human-human and human-nonhuman predation and production (“peace on Earth” versus “peace with Earth”);
Understanding the economy as a bioenergetic subsystem of the global biosphere;
Institutional governance (including the government, NGO, and for-profit sectors) in an age of “global public bads”;
The growing role of artificial intelligence in scarce resource allocation, and its potential implications for peace;
The comparative viability of capitalism and alternative economic models in managing a peaceful transition to sustainability;
Theoretical and empirical evidence for maintaining peace in steady-state or even shrinking economies;
Impacts of sustainable energy deployment on peace and conflict dynamics;
The role of transnational illicit trades in linking environmental degradation and violent conflict (e.g., via endangered species trafficking or small arms).

We are especially interested in contributions capable of blending rigor with the bold, big thinking we believe this area of inquiry urgently needs. To this end, we link from this CfP a recent article, “Bioeconomic Peace Research and Policy” by Brauer and McDougal, to sketch out a portion of this new terrain. (https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/peps/ahead-of-print/article-10.1515-peps-2020-0034/article-10.1515-peps-2020-0034.xml) This issue of EPSJ is intended to deepen and broaden conversations, establishing conceptual links across traditional disciplinary boundaries. As such, we especially welcome co-authored contributions from transdisciplinary teams drawn from a combination of the social and natural sciences.

Proposals should be no more than one page in length; EPSJ editors will then invite full contributions.

Proposal Submissions:    Contact Topher McDougal, EPSJ Guest Editor, directly at tlm@sandiego.edu

Deadline:        15 December 2020

Article length:        5,000-7,000 words, exclusive of references.

Formatting:        Please see the EPSJ website for submission guidelines: https://www.epsjournal.org.uk/index.php/EPSJ

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