This paper analyzes how foreign interventions can result in a broadening of government powers and a concurrent reduction of citizens’ liberties and freedoms domestically. The authors develop an analytical framework to examine the effects of coercive foreign interventions on the scope of domestic government activities. Facing limited or altogether absent constraints abroad, coercive foreign interventions serve as a testing ground for domestically-constrained governments to experiment with new technologies and methods of social control over foreign populations.
The purpose of this paper is to balance this largely one-sided treatment of the U.S. government’s dominant position in the international arms market. We discuss several negative consequences and costs associated with U.S. arms sales which call into question the net benefit of the U.S. government’s control over global arms.
This paper analyzes the private provision of public and quasi-public goods in a free society. In particular, the authors examine philanthropy as an avenue through which such goods are already produced and may be provided in a society without a central government.
This paper provides a political economy analysis of the evolution of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or “drones”, in the United States. Focus is placed on the interplay between the political and private economic influences; and their impact on the trajectory of political, economic, and, in this case, military outcomes.
The narrative that arose during the Great Depression and World War II was that capitalism was in its final stages and failing. The economic arguments of the time combined strands of Keynesianism and Marxism to construct a link between military spending and unemployment, suggesting that the capitalist economy of the U.S. must become militarized to be sustained.
Recent scholarship regarding the idea of a U.S. Empire has raised serious questions as to the feasibility and desirability of imperial ambitions. This paper traces the debate over the net-benefit of empire back to the Classical economists.
Institutional bottlenecks refer to path-dependent institutional arrangements which contribute to economic stagnation. In his research, Timur Kuran identifies several historical institutional bottlenecks which contributed to economic decline and underdevelopment of the Middle East. The authors use Kuran’s research as springboard to ask: what can be done about institutional bottlenecks?
This paper develops the political economy of human rights scandals involving government agencies. An analysis of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal is provided to illustrate the economic approach to human rights scandals.
This paper develops the political economy of the militarization of domestic policing. We apply our theory to the U.S., where we trace the (failed) historical attempts to establish constraints to separate the military functions and policing functions of government. In doing so we emphasize the role of crises in the form of perpetual wars — the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” — in the accelerated militarization of domestic policing.
How does the permanent war economy interact, and subsume, the private, non-military economy? Can the two remain at a distance while sharing resource pools? This paper argues that they cannot. Once the U.S. embarked upon the path of permanent war, starting with World War II, the result was a permanent war economy. The permanent war economy continuously draws resources into the military sector at the expense of the private economy, even in times of peace.
In 2010, Haiti was ravaged by a brutal earthquake that affected the lives of millions. The call to assist those in need was heard around the globe. Yet two years later humanitarian efforts led by governments and NGOs have largely failed.