Political Economy

New PDF release: American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power

By J K Galbraith

ISBN-10: 1560006749

ISBN-13: 9781560006749

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Extra info for American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power

Sample text

On the one hand, by the 1970's the evolution of military technology and the international distribution of military strength greatly reduced expectations of prolonged wars of attrition, as were World Wars I and II. Among the leading military powers, the emphasis was on deterring all-out war between one another, and limited local hostilities were generally assumed to be short or unlikely to interfere dangerously with the flow of indispensable imports. There is one additional reason why natural resources have become less important relative to science and technology as a factor of production and hence as a component of military potential, at least in the highly developed economies.

There is one particular value that demands singling out because it plays a crucial role in the international goal striving of states. This is putative power and influence over other states. International power is obviously instrumental to protecting and increasing a society's supply of many other values. This fact tends to dispose governments, more or less, to build up putative power for future use when external challenges or opportunities arise. They tend to do so for two reasons. First, the production and 36 POWER AND WEALTH accumulation of international power is time-consuming.

To the extent that foreign policy is rational, ends must be balanced by sufficient means. Goals will be frustrated if they lack adequate resources to be employed in conflict or for co-operation. The values that governments seek to augment or protect through international action are of many kinds: political, economic, cultural, etc. Their composition will be determined by two conditions, one on the demand, and one on the supply side. First, values are demanded by members of society, and tend to be ranked in terms of marginal preference or utility.

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American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power by J K Galbraith


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