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R. J. Rummel

Rudolph Rummel is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii[?]. He has spent the latter part of his career assembling data (which some find questionable) on wars, conflicts, and alleged governmental mass murder, for which he has coined the term democide.

Among Rummel's more startling claims is that the death toll from government mass murder is far greater than the death toll from war. After studying some 8,193 reports of government killing, Rummel estimates that there have been 169,198,000 victims of democide in the last century, as against some 38,000,000 killed in war: according to his figures, four times as many people have been murdered in cold blood by people working for governments than have died in battle.

Rummel claims that his research reveals strong correlations between peace, freedom, and democracy. According to his estimates, of 353 wars since 1816, none have been waged between democracies. "We have a solution for war," Rummel says, "It is to expand the sphere of liberty."

There is also a correlation, Rummel says, between political power and democide. Political mass murder - far more deadly than war - grows increasingly common as political power becomes unconstrained, he claims: at the other end of the scale, where power is diffuse, checked, and balanced, political violence is a rarity. According to Rummel, "The more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom."

Rummel concludes that "Concentrated political power is the most dangerous thing on earth."

Rummel's conclusions have been criticized for not considering the number of deaths due to anarchy and the lack of government, through mechanisms such as civil conflict, the breakdown of society, and foreign invasion.

In January, 2001, Rummel published a new book, Saving Lives, Enriching Life[?] on his website. This book aims at popularizing his findings.

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