By Hugh Rockoff

ISBN-10: 0521859409

ISBN-13: 9780521859400

How did monetary and fiscal elements verify how the US waged warfare within the 20th century? this crucial new ebook exposes the impact of economics and finance at the questions of even if the state may still visit conflict, how wars will be fought, how assets will be mobilized, and the long term effects for the yankee economic system. starting from the Spanish-American conflict to the Gulf battle, Hugh Rockoff explores the ways that conflict gives you precise possibilities for realizing the fundamental rules of economics as wars produce tremendous alterations in financial and monetary coverage and so offer a wealth of knowledge approximately how those rules really paintings. He exhibits that wars were extra expensive to the us than so much american citizens notice as a considerable reliance on borrowing from the general public, cash production and different suggestions to finance America's struggle efforts have hidden the genuine price of war.

* finds how America's present wars are financed and the way the present economy displays the results of earlier wars
* exhibits how the extremes of battle can light up the elemental ideas of economics
* because the first booklet to supply an financial and fiscal historical past of America's twentieth-century wars, it is going to aid scholars, reporters, company humans and lecturers position America's contemporary wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya into historic point of view

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Extra resources for America’s economic way of war : war and the US economy from the Spanish–American War to the Persian Gulf War

Example text

But we want to know how much that is in today’s money. Prices and wages have changed a great deal since 1898, so it will not do to simply compare the number of dollars spent on the Spanish–American War with the amount spent on wars being fought today. We must, to use the economists’ term, “inflate” the costs of the Spanish–American War to make them comparable to costs incurred today. As usual in economics, there is no single measuring rod that is always the right one to use. We use different measuring rods depending on the question we want to address.

The draftee pays the tax directly to the substitute. If the draftee has a high income because he or she is highly skilled – Grover Cleveland is an example – the economy is more efficient than it would be if the draftee was forced to serve. But one can, of course, think of a different kind of example: the prodigal son of a rich landowner. Why should the prodigal son avoid the fight just because he can draw on the resources of a wealthy father? Or as the saying went in the Civil War, why should it be a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight”?

Will the consumer recognize that it is the government’s prosecution of the war that has limited purchases of X? Or will they blame the “shortage” of X on profiteers or, best of all, on the enemy? Economics also comes into play when we move from the amount of war goods produced to the more specific question of the kinds of munitions. One example is the choice between airpower and ground power. Relying on air power makes sense for a nation, such as the United States, that is capital rich, namely where the cost of capital is low relative to the cost of labor.

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