Economists at War: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose the World Wars

ISBN : 9780198846000

Alan Bollard
336 ページ
138 x 138 mm

Wartime is not just about military success. Economists at War tells a different story - about a group of remarkable economists who used their skills to help their countries fight their battles during the Chinese-Japanese War, Second World War, and the Cold War. 1935-55 was a time of conflict, confrontation, and destruction. It was also a time when the skills of economists were called upon to finance the military, to identify economic vulnerabilities, and to help reconstruction. Economists at War: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose the World Wars focuses on the achievements of seven finance ministers, advisors, and central bankers from Japan, China, Germany, the UK, the USSR, and the US. It is a story of good and bad economic thinking, good and bad policy, and good and bad moral positions. The economists suffered threats, imprisonment, trial, and assassination. They all believed in the power of economics to make a difference, and their contributions had a significant impact on political outcomes and military ends. Economists at War shows the history of this turbulent period through a unique lens. It details the tension between civilian resources and military requirements; the desperate attempts to control economies wracked with inflation, depression, political argument, and fighting; and the clever schemes used to evade sanctions, develop barter trade, and use economic espionage. Politicians and generals cannot win wars if they do not have the resources. This book tells the human stories behind the economics of wartime.


1 Fall Down Seven Times Get Up Eight?: Takahashi Korekiyo in Japan, 1934-35
2 Richest Man in the World?: H.H. Kung in China, 1936-37
3 The Self-Proclaimed Economic Wizard: Hjalmar Schacht in Germany, 1938-39
4 No One in Our Age Was Cleverer: John Maynard Keynes in Britain, 1939-40
5 The Calculating Iceman: Leonid Kantorovich in the USSR, 1941-42
6 The Peacenik Who Helped Bombing Tactics: Wassily Leontief in the USA, 1943-44
7 If They Say Bomb at One O'Clock: John von Neumann in the USA, 1944-45
8 Economists at the Armistice: The Economists at War's End, 1946
9 Economists in the Cold War: Money, Computers and Models, 1946-55
10 Annex: Economies in Wartime


Alan Bollard is a Professor of Economics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He formerly managed APEC, the largest regional economic integration organization in the world, and was previously the New Zealand Reserve Bank Governor, Secretary of the New Zealand Treasury, and Chairman of the New Zealand Commerce Commission. Professor Bollard is the author of Crisis: One Central Bank Governor and the Global Financial Crisis (Auckland University Press, 2013) and A Few Hares to Chase: The Life and Economics of Bill Philips (Oxford University Press, 2016).