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Commerce, markets, and peace: Richard Cobden's enduring lessons

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  • Stringham, Edward

Abstract

Do capitalism and conflicts go hand in hand? Are the military and markets complements? Indeed, many conservative advocates of markets also passionately support the military, and many people who oppose war also oppose markets. Nineteenth-century writer Richard Cobden, however, maintained that the military and markets were substitutes: more military entails less market. Although the ideas in The Political Writings of Richard Cobden (1903) are a century and a half old, Cobden considered many arguments for military intervention still made today. He discussed whether military spending was beneficial to the economy, to commerce, and to peace, and in all three cases he answered no. Both conservatives and left liberals can learn much from Cobden’s discussion of commerce, markets, and peace. As he demonstrated, the advocate of markets must be an advocate of peace.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26043.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in Independent Review 1.9(2004): pp. 543-549
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26043

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Keywords: political economy of trade; political economy of war; classical liberal thought;

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  1. Malcolm Knight & Norman Loayza & Delano Villanueva, 1996. "The Peace Dividend: Military Spending Cuts and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 1-37, March.
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