Introduction to War Economics

Introduction to War Economics

Introduction to War Economics

Introduction to War Economics

Excerpt

In wartime a democracy takes on many characteristics which are permanent features in totalitarian countries. In outward form there is perhaps only a difference in degree between controls over income, production, consumption, and employment imposed in both totalitarian countries and democracies. This superficial similarity has led many people to remark in cynical fashion that to preserve democracy we must submit to dictatorship. Between democracies and dictatorships at war, however, there is a vast difference which superficial similarities should not obscure. The citizens of a democratic nation have the opportunity to give consent, based upon understanding, to the wartime controls; the citizens of totalitarian nations are given no opportunity either to consent to or to refuse wartime controls and are required only to understand orders rather than the reasons for them. The difference between citizenship in democratic and totalitarian countries, therefore, turns upon the ability and willingness of citizens to exercise intelligent choice in advocating and supporting wartime policies. This book was written to supply the basic information and analysis necessary for intelligent decision-making on the part of citizens of democratic countries.

This discussion cannot possibly anticipate all the economic problems which arise in wartime, nor can it provide all the information and analysis required for the solution of every problem. It is concerned with what the authors believe to be the most important problems, and the kind of information and analysis required to deal with them. The book is not what would be called in academic circles a definitive work. As the title indicates, it is merely an introduction to war economics. It is intended primarily for use in college courses in elementary economics. The more mature student of economics may use this book to orient his general knowledge of principles toward economic problems of war. He may then desire to supplement his knowledge by reading some of the selected references at the end of each chapter.

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