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The Uses and Limitations of Economic Analysis for Defence Policy Planning

  • Gavin Kennedy

Abstract

Moderation is the best antidote for illusory panaceas. This is no less true of economics than any other form of analysis. The extremist economist who believes that the real world is but a poor imitation (and, implicitly, all the worse for this) of his theoretical models is, happily, out of harm’s way in his cloister. At the other extreme, we have a minority who think that the real world is best represented by their theoretical models. The problem arises when either kind of extremist gets let loose on an organisation, encouraged by some change in policy or personnel, and proceeds to cause all manner of unnecessary tensions before being brought under control, usually by another change in policy or personnel. While there is some slight caricature in the above compared to what tends to happen, there is an element of truth in it and in looking at the possible influence of economic analysis on defence policy planning, without necessarily referring to specific times and places or specific institutions, we ought to start by arming ourselves against panaceas and the persuasive charm of those who purvey them.

Keywords

Foreign Policy National Security Missing Element Policy Planner Compensatory Cost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    David Braybrooke and Charles E. Lindblom, A Strategy of Decision: Policy Evaluation as a Social Process (New York, 1970).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Klaus Knorr, Military Power and Potential (Lexington, Mass., 1970).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nicholas Kaldor, ‘The German War Economy’, Review of Economic Studies, vol. XIII (1945–6);Google Scholar
  4. Alan S. Milward, The German Economy at War (London, 1965).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    For an account of defence burdens see Frederic L. Pryor, Public Expenditures in Communist and Capitalist Nations (London, 1968)Google Scholar
  6. Bruce M. Russett, What Price Vigilance? The Burdens of National Defense (New Haven, Conn., 1970).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    On the economics of alliances see J. M. van Ypersel de Strihou, ‘Sharing the burden of defence among Western allies’, Yale Economic Essays, vol. 8, no. 1 (1968) pp. 261–320Google Scholar
  8. Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge, Mass., 1965) p. 8.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    E. S. Quade, An Appreciation of Analysis for Military Decisions (Chicago, 1967);Google Scholar
  10. Gavin Kennedy, The Economics of Defence (London, 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Defence College 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gavin Kennedy

There are no affiliations available

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