War in the Western World: New Economic and Social Perspectives
Philip Hoffman, California Institute of Technology
Hugh Rockoff, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Mark R. Wilson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
In recent decades the role of war--organized violence-- as a catalyst of economic and social transformation has come increasingly to the fore in historical explanations. This has proven the case in studies of different societies over various time periods all across the globe. Some such studies have attracted large general audiences—works such as Steve Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) and Ian Morris’s War! What is It Good For? (2014) come immediately to mind in this regard. In this roundtable session, sponsored by the Economic History Association, four first-rate scholars at different points in their careers—two economists and two historians—have been assembled to discuss recent views of war’s impact in and on the West from the so-called early modern period to the present day. The panelists specialize in different parts of the West during different time periods and come at war from very different perspectives/ approaches/traditions, ranging from long-term modeling to political economy, and from the history of technology to national income accounting. Each has made significant contributions to the literature on war’s profound effects and implications on economic and social life (including in Hoffman’s case on migration flows, the theme of our meeting), and they have been invited to share their expertise and insights to a broad, diverse audience of scholars interested in the latest views on the relationship between war and economic and social change, broadly conceived.