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Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control

The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming

GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 14-11

38 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2014 Last revised: 8 Aug 2014

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Date Written: June 17, 2014

Abstract

This paper analyzes how foreign interventions can result in a broadening of government powers and a concurrent reduction of citizens’ liberties and freedoms domestically. We develop an analytical framework to examine the effects of coercive foreign interventions on the scope of domestic government activities. Facing limited or altogether absent constraints abroad, coercive foreign interventions serve as a testing ground for domestically-constrained governments to experiment with new technologies and methods of social control over foreign populations. We identify several mechanisms through which these innovations in state-produced social control can boomerang back to the intervening country. We apply the logic of the “boomerang effect” to two episodes in the U.S.: (1) the origins of domestic surveillance, and (2) the rise of SWAT teams and the militarization of domestic police.

Keywords: Boomerang effect, Coercive foreign intervention, Drones, Militarization, NSA, Scope of government, Surveillance, SWAT

JEL Classification: F50, H10, H56

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Hall, Abigail R., Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control (June 17, 2014). The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming; GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 14-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2410362 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2410362

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Abigail R. Hall

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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