Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.Genesis 6:11
Throughout recorded history, violent conflict has been a conspicuous aspect of the human experience. In recent decades, terrorism, civil strife, nation-state warfare, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have dominated the headlines. It might at first appear that economics has little to say about such realms of conflict. After all, most economics textbooks restrict their attention to the behavior of consumers, producers, and governments operating peacefully in secure environments. Fortunately, however, the rapidly developing field of conflict economics can contribute greatly to an understanding of conflict in two important ways. First, conflict economics rigorously applies the concepts, principles, and methods of economics to the study of diverse conflict activities. Second, conflict economics treats appropriation as a fundamental economic activity, revealing how conflict both shapes and is shaped by the traditional economic activities of production and trade.
This book provides the reader with an accessible overview of the basic principles and major themes of conflict economics. Following an introduction to the field in Chapter 1, Chapters 2 through 4 survey many of the economic concepts and methods applied in subsequent chapters. These chapters will be useful to readers who either have no formal training in economics or would like to review economic principles with a focus on conflict.