Chapter

Economics and Military History in the Twenty-first Century

in Castles, Battles, & Bombs

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226071633
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226071657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226071657.003.0008
Economics and Military History in the Twenty-first Century

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In each case taken up in this book, economic principles were found to be a useful tool by which to parse military history. Economics cannot explain everything, but the extent to which its principles illuminate certain behaviors and events suggests a fruitful avenue for military historians to impose structure on description. It stands to reason, then, that these principles are applied to other episodes or to invoke additional principles of economics to reread and rewrite more military history. Two topics are worth considering: game theory and public finance (including principles of taxation and public expenditure). Having been steeped in so much history throughout this book, one may wonder whether economics has useful things to say about contemporary military affairs. By way of example, this chapter hints at how economic thinking may be applied to current issues of terrorism, military manpower, and the use of private military companies. It also comments briefly on a complex of topics regarding economics, historiography, and military history before summarizing the main arguments and findings of the book.

Keywords: economics; military history; game theory; public finance; military affairs; terrorism; military manpower; private military companies; historiography

Chapter.  18821 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Military History

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