A Reading List on: Economics and Security

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Books in perspective
Books in perspective.  Photo: Oldtasty/flickr

The intersection between economics and security is large and growing. Fighting wars and fulfilling security objectives has always had economic implications — in far more than just blood and treasure — and economic developments are having ever more rapid and dramatic consequences for traditional and emerging conceptions of security.  This syllabus will help keep you up to date.

In Journals Recently

“Does Globalization Breed Ethnic Discontent?”
Susan Olzak

Journal of Conflict Resolution
Volume 55: 3-32, February 2011

“International Order After the Financial Crisis”
Harold James
International Affairs
87: 525–537,  2011

“The Political Economy of National Security”
Alexandra Homolar
Review of International Political Economy
Volume 10, Issue 2, 2010

Books Being Taught*

The Powers to Lead
Joseph Nye Jr.; Oxford University Press, 2008
Review: “…exposes the changing nature of power and leadership and invites the reader to consider the skills and methods required for leading modern democratic organizations” … “[B]oth the neophyte and the seasoned leadership studies scholar can benefit from Nye’s book…”
Review: “…explores leadership as it relates to hard power (coercion) and soft power (influence and persuasion), and he calls the mixture of these powers smart power” … “[T]his excellent book offers important insight into leadership with valuable analysis and anecdotes for leaders and aspiring leaders…”

The Return of History and the End of Dreams
Robert Kagan; Knopf, 2008
Review: “Love him or hate him, Robert Kagan does big-picture thinking about foreign affairs in a way that eludes his few British counterparts” … “It is controversial stuff. The objections are obvious.”
Review: “‘The future international order will be shaped by those who have the power and the collective will to shape it,’ Kagan writes. ‘The question is whether the world’s democracies will again rise to that challenge.’ It’s an excellent question, and “The Return of History” does an admirable job of exploring it.”

Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System (2nd Edition)
Barry Eichengreen; Princeton University Press, 2008
Review: “…a succinct and well-written history of the international monetary system” … “authoritative”
Review: “Eichengreen’s purpose is to provide a brief history of the international monetary system. In this, he succeeds magnificently. Globalizing Capital will become a classic.”

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about It
Paul Collier; Oxford University Press, 2007
Review: “Among the most controversial passages of Collier’s book is a plea for western military interventions in failing societies” … “This extraordinarily important book should be read by everyone who cares about Africa…”
Review: “Three things turn out to increase the risk of conflict: a relatively high proportion of young, uneducated men; an imbalance between ethnic groups, with one tending to outnumber the rest; and a supply of natural resources like diamonds or oil, which simultaneously encourages and helps to finance rebellion” … “an elegant edifice: admirably succinct and pithily written.”

Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke; Princeton University Press, 2007
Review: ” [T]his book will challenge conventional wisdom and suggest new avenues of research by showing the ways in which long-distance trade affected historical events and trends that are usually examined in isolation” … “The argument … that the necessary link between power and trade in the mercantilist systems of the 17th and 18th centuries can be broadened to include other eras and other constellations of political and economic order is exceptionally powerful…”
:  “…indispensable for scholars who seek answers to questions such as: How did the world economy evolve into its present form? What events shaped its current characteristics? What roles did trade play in shaping the modern world economy?” … “[It] fully answers all these questions…”

Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire
Niall Ferguson; Penguin, 2004
Review: “The time has therefore come, Ferguson concludes, to revive Paul Kennedy’s term ‘imperial overstretch’, but to apply it now to the gap that exists between the domestic obligations Americans have taken on and their unwillingness to pay for them: this could be the Achilles’ heel of their empire” … “Perhaps there is also such a thing as authorial overstretch.”

*selected from: Richard Rosecrance, “Economics and Security,” Harvard Kennedy School of Government

New and Upcoming Books

Insecure Gulf: The End of Certainty and The Transition to the Post-Oil Era
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen; August 2011, Columbia Press
Google Preview

: “…in highlighting the uncertainties of a future from which oil income may not provide sufficient protection, it warns of the subregion’s impending demographic, economic, and environmental crises…”
Review: “…draws our attention to the dangers of a perfect storm in which domestic challenges could combine with externally induced security or economic shocks, exposing these societies to crises of such magnitude that their very sociopolitical foundations would be tested…”

Sovereign Wealth Funds and International Political Economy
Manda Shemirani; May 2011, Ashgate


Review: “…a lucid assessment of the many political and economic issues raised by these Funds…”

Shifting Geo-Economic Power of the Gulf
Matteo Legrenzi, Bessma Momani eds.; May 2011, Ashgate


Review: “…an extremely valuable collection of new work by predominantly younger scholars on a subject – the Gulf Arab export economies – that is
curiously under researched.”
Review: “…a closely edited and coherent set of original studies on the changing nature of these economies, on evolving policies and economic strategies, and on
their developing presence in the regional and global economy…”

The Political Economy of Grand Strategy
Kevin Narizny; July 2007, Cornell University Press
Reviews: “…a convincing case for the need to integrate security studies more fully into the mainstream of political science…”


Classic Articles, Chapters and Other Essays

“Preferential Peace: Why Preferential Trading Arrangements Inhibit Interstate Conflict”
Edward D. Mansfield
in Economic Interdependence and International Conflict: New Perspectives on an Enduring Debate, pp. 222-236,
ed. Edward D. Mansfield, et al; University of Michigan Press, 2003

“Problematic Lucidity: Stephen Krasner’s ‘State Power and the Structure of International Trade”
Robert O. Keohane
World Politics
Volume 50, Number 1, October 1997

“The Globalization of Production and the Changing Benefits of Conquest”
Stephen G. Brooks
Journal of Conflict Resolution
43(5), (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, © 1999), pp. 646-670.

“International Economics and National Security”
Theodore H. Moran
Foreign Affairs
Winter 1990/91

And some highlights from our Digital Library on the topic include:

2 replies on “A Reading List on: Economics and Security”

Great list, William. Do you know where can I read this book “Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System (2nd Edition)”, as I do not want to pay yet until I know that the book is really worth reading. Thanks.

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