Readings in the Economics of War

Readings in the Economics of War

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Readings in the Economics of War

Readings in the Economics of War

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Excerpt

This volume aims to throw light upon the various economic questions which arise in connection with the war. It falls roughly into three divisions, which are concerned with the economic background of war in general, the economic reorganization required in view of the necessities of a world-war, and the economic questions involved in the reorganization of the industrial system at the end of the present conflict.

The first of these three divisions grows out of the necessity for a proper understanding of what is involved in the struggle. The theory of "the economic interpretation of history" has lost vogue and no longer suffices to give a full explanation. Yet however numerous and complicated are the factors that merge themselves into the psychological matrix out of which war springs, few indeed would deny that commercial rivalry, concessions, imperial exploitation, and a conviction on the part of certain political groups that war is a sound business venture, are factors of the first magnitude in explaining the present struggle. A consideration of questions such as these is of use, not only in answering the question of what the struggle is about, but also in pointing to the economic factors which deserve special consideration in the peace which is some time to come.

The second of these divisions--that concerned with the proper organization of the industrial system for war--is of primary importance. While military efficiency depends upon generalship, upon the numbers and quality of our troops and other factors, primarily military, these are inefficient unless the industrial system is made subservient to the military purpose. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Here it deserves even more than a word of explanation.

In their readiness to meet an armed enemy nations may be divided into two groups--those whose governments, industrial systems, and habits and customs have been arranged into a unified and coherent whole directed largely to military ends, and those which without thought for military strength have allowed these things to develop to . . .

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