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The Worth of War Hardcover – September 2, 2014
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—Barry Parker, author of The Physics of War
"Surprising.... Unconventional.... certain to stir controversy...."
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Top Customer Reviews
The essence of Professor Ginsberg’s argument is that historically war has resulted in some benefits. Chief among these are technological advances and economic gains, which in my view are indisputable. However he also claims that war is an agent of rationality. It may be in the sense that countries that engage in war based on irrational thinking invariably lose (Nazi Germany being a prime example), but clearly war, in modern times at least, is an irrational and even desperate act. Finally Professor Ginsberg claims that war mitigates government brutality in the sense that in wartime governments have to move from coercion to persuasion in getting their citizens to comply with the needs of warfare. That may be true but war itself creates far more brutality, both in the fact that killing and torture are its hallmarks and in the ongoing effects it has on soldiers and citizens.
Toward the end of the book Professor Ginsberg goes off his topic and criticizes the excesses of the American government, which he says, continues wartime activities in peacetime, directing them against U.S. people instead. Documents such as the Pentagon Papers and other classified documents that have become public reveal a pattern of deceit and oppression. Popular government requires transparency, which is not there.Read more ›
A very significant aspect of war that has carried over to peaceful business is the science of logistics. The author thinks that the Nazis might have won if they hadn't diverted resources to racial cleansing and neglected logistical requirements of the war effort, especially in Russia. Stalin, after his initial mistake thought straight and won.
Hobbes thought that a powerful sovereign authority was best for peace keeping Witness the Pax Romana and British Empire and the role of the US military as the world's policeman. Kant, and more recently Fukuyama, proposed increasing the number of republican governments, as democracies are unlikely to go to war.
Personally, I think history is inconclusive as to that verdict and another way might be needed.Read more ›