Neighbors: Blessing or Curse?

Refugees constitute the 30th-largest “country” in the world—larger than Argentina, Canada, Kenya, Malaysia, or Poland. We need a better way to prevent the wars that create them. . . . → Read More: Neighbors: Blessing or Curse?

Peace economics

My colleague Prof. Raul Caruso of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, and I completed work on a “peace economics” entry for wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. . . . → Read More: Peace economics

Violence and Development

Violence costs more—far more—than did the world economic crisis of 2009. This, at least, is one conclusion of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2011. . . . → Read More: Violence and Development

The Myth of War

With the U.S. war in (and on) Iraq semi-concluded, many people have come to understand that the wages of war are not a booming economy—neither in Iraq, nor in the United States. Yet a myth about a lovely romance between war and economy still persists. . . . → Read More: The Myth of War

A Dollar a Day: The Economics of Prisons

Population counts of adults on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole in the United States have been rising steadily during the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s. But average taxpayer cost per inmate has steadily fallen from 1982 to 2005. Nonetheless, prison is expensive and if other advanced, industrialized countries can manage incarceration rates one-tenths that of United States, surely so can the U.S. . . . → Read More: A Dollar a Day: The Economics of Prisons

The Trillion-Dollar Military

It’s finally happened! U.S. military-related spending reached, in 2008, the trillion dollar mark. As you write your income-tax check to the IRS by April 15, remember that the military tax burden is over $3,000 per U.S. citizen. . . . → Read More: The Trillion-Dollar Military

Lord of War, Bath of Blood

A column on small arms, the movie Lord of War and two new books, The Bottom Billion and Private Guns, Public Health. . . . → Read More: Lord of War, Bath of Blood

Dictators and Their Economies

The relationship between political regime and economic success is not straightforward. Not all democracies do well; not all non-democracies do badly. . . . → Read More: Dictators and Their Economies

Nuclear Traffic Laws

Until about 1880, there were no traffic laws. They became necessary with the invention and increasing use of motor vehicles. The same is true for nuclear weapons. They have proliferated to such an extent that their effective global regulation has become necessary. . . . → Read More: Nuclear Traffic Laws

U.S. Military Spending: US$800 Billion a Year

For fiscal year 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense outlays were US$436.4 billion, slightly less than a fifth of the total federal government outlays of US$2,292.2 billion. Many Americans believe that 19 cents on defense for every 81 cents on nondefense is a reasonable way to spend a tax dollar. But by another calculation, an estimate much nearer the truth, the tax dollar splits 68 cents for defense and 32 cents on everything else. . . . → Read More: U.S. Military Spending: US$800 Billion a Year

A Market for Peace?

Apply economists’ notions of competition, or lack thereof, to understand why war is so common in certain places in the world and, correspondingly, why there is so little peace. . . . → Read More: A Market for Peace?

Explaining our Silence

Not lack of will, not lack of money, not inhumanity explain our silence to deal with death and destruction worldwide. But noise and distance do. It is no coincidence that the thousands of lobbying organizations assembled in Washington, D.C., all toe the same line: They raise funds to make noise and vicariously close the distance between their constituents and the U.S. Congress. . . . → Read More: Explaining our Silence