Economic Aspects of War


    THE economic aspects of war are ably discussed by Mr. G. Crowther in an Oxford Pamphlet on World Affairs (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 3d. net), entitled “The Sinews of War”, in which he maintains that war is now an industrial proposition, being more influenced by the science of economics than by the art of strategy. The demand of war for the whole of a nation's industry and wealth has given an immense advantage to the rich country. Limiting himself to the question of men and materials, Mr. Crowther compares the resources of man-power and materials available to the Allies and to Germany. In almost every respect the Allies have an overwhelming advantage, and our advantage in man-power will increase the more Germany succeeds in making her raw materials at home. To win the War, however, even with these advantages, economic mobilization is essential. We must keep the seas open to our trade while closing them to the enemy; we must prevent the enemy from over-running our industrial areas or bombing them out of existence before they convert our advantages of man-power and materials into a military superiority. We must also preserve our ability to pay for imports by maintaining and increasing our export trades, and be prepared to reduce to the minimum the amount of man-power and materials consumed for purposes other than war. Finally, we must be energetic and speedy in organizing the transfer both of men and materials into their war-time jobs. In laying down programmes of war production, we must be content with nothing short of the maximum that is physically possible.

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    Economic Aspects of War. Nature 145, 505 (1940).

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