The Economics of Peace and War in the Chinese Military Classics

Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 23-31, 2015

9 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2014 Last revised: 15 Aug 2016

See all articles by Matthew McCaffrey

Matthew McCaffrey

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Although classics of military strategy like Sun Tzu’s Art of War are often studied by business professionals and researchers, many lesser-known works in China’s military canon have been neglected. This article surveys seven major texts in ancient Chinese strategic thought, discussing the contributions of each to the political economy of war, and focusing especially on ideas about peace and the avoidance of conflict. In general, the military writings advocate avoiding war wherever possible, and stress the importance of resolving conflict without fighting. In addition, the classical strategists also consider the role of the state in war making, especially its methods of war finance and attempts to encourage or discourage economic activity. Generally, they warn the state to limit its expenditures and other impositions on the population so as to encourage the production of resources for use in military campaigns.

Keywords: Chinese history, military strategy, war finance, political economy of war, Art of War

JEL Classification: B11, H2, H56

Suggested Citation

McCaffrey, Matthew, The Economics of Peace and War in the Chinese Military Classics (2014). Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 23-31, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2531680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2531680

Matthew McCaffrey (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

United Kingdom

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