The Political Economy of 'The Art of War'

Comparative Strategy, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 354-371, 2014

35 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2014 Last revised: 29 Nov 2014

See all articles by Matthew McCaffrey

Matthew McCaffrey

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" deals with the economic aspects of military operations as well as some more general economic principles. This article studies several of its economic ideas in turn: on war and the state, the effect of war on economic affairs, and the role of incentives in promoting desired behavior within military organizations. It also discusses how the text treats ideal military strategy as a matter of opportunity discovery, analogous to entrepreneurship in the work of Israel Kirzner.

Keywords: Sun Tzu, Art of War, Political Economy, Economics of War, History of Economic Thought, Military Organization, Incentives, Entrepreneurship, Opportunity Discovery

JEL Classification: B11, L26, N45, N75

Suggested Citation

McCaffrey, Matthew, The Political Economy of 'The Art of War' (2014). Comparative Strategy, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 354-371, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2508183

Matthew McCaffrey (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

United Kingdom

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