War has substantial impacts on the society. War has great effects on groups, international systems, individuals, and nations. It can destroy human lives and the economic infrastructure of a given country. War also undermines the legitimacy of a given state and threatens its institutions, security of property ownership, and the general rule of law. Internal wars in a country can threaten and introduce uncertainty in the economic environment, which makes both the private and the public investment in that country riskier. War can also have adverse effects on the health of people living in a warring country. It is now clear that war is a deterrent factor in social, economic, and political development. War originates in historical periods, and several of such occurrences have been cited as drawbacks to development of the society. When talking about the most serious wars worldwide, it is reasonable to mention World War I and II. Thus, war negatively affects society causing damage to both health and the economy that leads to deaths, destruction of natural and human resources, diseases and epidemics, among other unfavorable conditions.
Impacts of War on Health of the Society
War has adverse effects on the health of the society. In fact, it can trigger morbidity, mortality, and disability. Apparently, war impacts on health of both civilians and combatants, thereby leading to both direct deaths and injuries of combatants and other indirect consequences that the society continues to experience for several years after the war. During a war, the parties involved use different methods of insuring that they defeat their enemy, including suicide bombing, rocket-propelled grenades, car bombs and military targets toward civilians that cause death and injury to innocent civilians. After the war, there are a considerable number of disabled people who require special care (Stein and Russett 402). Furthermore, civilians feel unsafe during wars that trigger fear of the unknown among people in the society.
The short-term effects of war on the physical and mental health cause suffering of members of the society. On the contrary, the long-term effects of war in the society are much more adverse. The reason is that health facilities are damaged (Imai and Weinstein 14). Moreover, the health-sustaining infrastructure is damaged, and there is a rise in the corrosive effects of war-related factors such as the increase in the level of unemployment and poverty and low morale have adverse effects on the health sector.
War also increases the magnitude of communicable diseases in the society. Diseases such as diarrhea, leishmaniasis, mumps, acute respiratory infections, and typhoid are the leading causes of death in the society. During the war, there is an increased rate of infant mortality that is caused by poor immunization coverage and a decrease in health campaigns. In addition, there is high exposure to pathogens since there is the decay of water and sanitation infrastructure and increased vulnerability due to malnutrition (Blattman and Miguel 23). The immunization programs are seriously affected by the disruption, insecurity, erratic electric supply and lack of the required equipment to supply vaccines.
Wars lead to poor quality health services, reduce outreach services for the poor and the rural populations, cause lack of access to the conflict areas and a compromised management of chronic conditions. As a result, there is an added burden of the essentially preventable disability and death (Panch et al. 21). War affects reproductive health since women do not receive help during delivery that increases maternal death.
Effects of war on Nutrition and Food Security
During wars, there is damage to the infrastructure that aids in sustaining food security. War makes people dependent on the supply of famine relief. On the other hand, relief organizations do not provide adequate food for poor households that are unable to supplement the deficiency of products (Blattman and Miguel 23). The consequences of poor nutrition are sickly thinness and chronic malnourishment that is caused by the acute malnutrition during wars. Due to food insecurity, some people lose their lives. Crops that farms cultivate are destroyed during wars, which in turn reduces the ability of a country to feed its citizens. After the war, the country is forced to spend a lot of money on the importation of food. Due to increase in the government spending on importation of food, other sectors such as that of education and health may suffer deficits.
Effects of War on the Economy
War has a negative impact on the economic growth of the society. War reduces capital stock of a country since crucial infrastructures such as the roads, residential structures, ports, bridges and factories are targeted and damaged by the competing militaries during a war. As a result, transportation of both people and goods is hindered; this in turn causes a shortage of important commodities such as food. In addition, war reduces domestic investment, while investment from both the private and the public sectors is greatly reduced, which in turn increases uncertainty and hence investment in the domestic assets becomes riskier (Blattman and Miguel 23). The private sector investment suffers because people save less due to the short time horizons and the liquid assets that are shifted from the country during a war.
War has a great effect on the public investment; the reason is that the government is forced to shift its expenditure from investing in the capital stock to the maintenance and expansion of its military. Therefore, the occurrence of a civil war reduces the government capacity of investing in the capital stock that in turn hinders the provision of vital services to its citizens.
When the state is weakened by war, it treats its civilian population by using tools of coercion to maintain its power among the citizens. At that time, the democratic practices are violated, and the government’s accountability is reduced. As the war rages, the state’s resources become limited, and this makes the government increase collection of revenue from the population. In most cases, this cannot maintain its pace with the costs of the war that arise (Blattman and Miguel 23). In addition, there is a stronger incentive of incurring huge deficits in the society during a war.
The power supply system is greatly affected due to the looting and damage of the electricity generating infrastructure during wars. Electricity pylons are destroyed with the aim of extracting valuable copper wires (Blattman and Miguel 23). In the time of war, the power supply system remains unpredicted, and several homes, offices and health care facilities are forced to utilize private generators. As a result, people spend a lot of money on fueling the generators which is not economical.
Effects of War on the Social Behavior and Violence
War increases psychological disorders in the society. Studies have shown that the level of committing suicide by people with the above-mentioned disorders increased sevenfold when compared to that by the healthy people; they also have a higher risk of dying due to external factors. War increases violence in the society accompanied by a disquieting increase in suicides and several other self-inflicted injuries among young people. Moreover, war causes an increase in the level of depressive symptoms that occur among veterans and elderly groups (Blattman and Miguel 23). Furthermore, war raises the level of drug abuse since people perceive it as a way of coping with stress that is caused by war.
People who suffer deep pain during a war alter so that in the end, they develop a helpless psychological and physical state. Hereby, this makes them view the world as a dangerous place for them due to the fear developed during the war. In addition, people develop trauma because people whom they killed and instances when they committed other horrific things haunt them. They feel perpetrators, and they tend to seek justifications for their acts. They tend to gather together and build an inner world in which they believe that what they did was right. Moreover, there are people who suffer from both victim and perpetrator trauma (Ausenda 28). Apparently, combat veterans in most cases find themselves in situations like this. They tend to be volatile, fragile, and vulnerable, and they face desperation in their daily life due to considerable losses. People in the society are faced with an increase in risks such as explosive ordnance, munitions and storage containers that are used during the war (Imai and Weinstein 13). In the countries with military conflicts, there is an increase in the acts of public violence, child and spouse abuse, and domestic violence accompanied by a rise in the cases of behavioral and mental disorders.
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Women and girls develop a fear of sexual violence that is created by war. Thus, this prevents girls and women from participating in the public life such as seeking medical treatment, going to their workplace, going to schools or even leaving their homes. As a result, women are prevented from participating in different developments in their country.
Effects of War on the International System
War has an effect of distributing power in the international system; thus, it determines whether some states will be destroyed or survive, thereby influencing the future of some states. In addition, war determines whether people in a given state will be ruled by one government or another. It further determines whether there will be balance in the international system or a single state will preponderate. War has an effect of legitimizing the international system and identifies the Great Powers (Ausenda 30). Thus, war triggers new great power or the decline of the old ones.
Wars also negatively affect the international market when the countries that are involved in the war are the major exporters of important commodities such as oil. In this situation, there is the deficit of these commodities. In addition, the price of such commodities rises. Moreover, war leads to workforce challenges in the societies. Thus, during war, people who came from other countries to seek employment return to their countries, and this causes lack of workforce in important sectors such as that of health and education.
War causes a lot of adverse effects on the society such as the loss of life and property. In addition, war causes injuries that make people disabled for the rest of their lives. War decreases economic growth in a country and affects health facilities. War increases psychological disorders which contribute to the decline in population. Therefore, there is a need for the international community to devise strategies that will be aimed at preventing wars in different countries.