Castles, Battles, and Bombs: How Economics Explains Military by Jurgen Brauer

By Jurgen Brauer

Castles, Battles, and Bombs reconsiders key episodes of army historical past from the perspective of economics—with dramatically insightful effects. for instance, while checked out as a question of sheer price, the construction of castles within the excessive center a while turns out virtually inevitable: notwithstanding stunningly dear, a powerful citadel used to be a long way more cost-effective to take care of than a status military. The authors additionally reexamine the strategic bombing of Germany in global conflict II and supply new insights into France’s choice to boost nuclear guns. Drawing on those examples and extra, Brauer and Van Tuyll recommend classes for today’s army, from counterterrorist technique and armed forces manpower making plans to using deepest army businesses in Afghanistan and Iraq.


"In bringing economics into checks of army heritage, [the authors] additionally carry illumination. . . . [The authors] flip their interdisciplinary lens at the mercenary preparations of Renaissance Italy; the wars of Marlborough, Frederick the good, and Napoleon; Grant's campaigns within the Civil conflict; and the strategic bombings of global struggle II. the implications are continuously stimulating."—Martin Walker, Wilson Quarterly


"This learn is severe, artistic, vital. As an economist i'm satisfied to work out economics so professionally utilized to light up significant judgements within the heritage of warfare."—Thomas C. Schelling, Winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics

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Wool and mohair industry, which from 1954 to 1994 received a yearly subsidy, the sum total of which came to billions of taxpayer dollars. 32 Substitution in production is massive and pervasive. So is its flip side, substitution in consumption. S. mohair and, say, Australian mohair. If there are in fact no discernible quality differences (as is often the case in commodity markets such as for metals and agricultural products), so that the benefit to the user is identical, then the user would be expected to go for the cheaper option.

The bracelets and rings are said to have had a hidden characteristic about them, namely, whether they truly were made of pure gold. One might have thought that the buyer would not easily be able to ascertain the seller’s truth claim, but in this case the potential buyer found a “wily” way to elicit that information at zero cost. In other instances, it is the buyer who possesses information that is hidden, information that the seller needs to elicit. The standard example concerns the purchase of health insurance.

What changes is not one’s taste but the prices one faces and the available resources with which to satisfy one’s taste. As a consequence, observed behavior can change even when—despite appearances—the underlying preferences or tastes have not. The argument is cleverly constructed, but the underlying insight is simple. Suppose for instance that one likes “good” music. One’s appreciation of good music can be enhanced quantitatively by spending much time listening and qualitatively by studying music.

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