[Excerpt from Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, delivered in Oslo, Norway, on 10 December 1993]
“…In our quest for peace we should constantly ask ourselves what we should do to create conditions in which peace can prosper.
It is easy to identify those forces and conditions which militate against it and which must be eradicated:
Peace does not fare well where poverty and deprivation reign.
It does not flourish where there is ignorance and a lack of education and information.
Repression, injustice and exploitation are inimical with peace.
Peace is gravely threatened by inter-group fear and envy and by the unleashing of unrealistic expectations.
Racial, class and religious intolerance and prejudice are its mortal enemies.
Since the vast proportion of human history has been characterised by such conditions, it should not surprise us that much of history has been a lamentable tale of violence and war.
But there is reason for optimism.
Around the world forces which favour peace are on the move. Amongst those, economic development is fundamentally important. Economic growth, generated by the free market, is transforming societies everywhere:
It is helping to eliminate poverty and is providing the wealth which is required to address the pressing needs of the poor.
It is extending education and information to an unprecedented portion of the global population.
It is changing social and economic relationships and is placing irresistible pressure on archaic political and constitutional systems – whether these are of the left or of the right.
And hand in hand with economic development goes democracy. Wherever economic growth occurs it promotes the establishment of representative and democratic institutions – institutions which invariably develop a framework for peace.
It is highly significant that there has never been a war between genuine and universal democracies. There have been countless wars between totalitarian and authoritarian states. There have been wars between democracies and dictatorships – most often in defence of democratic values or in response to aggression. But there are no instances of truly free and democratic peoples taking up arms against one another…”