Monday, December 19, 2016

Mary Kaldor's The Baroque Arsenal

I first ran across Mary Kaldor's The Baroque Arsenal back when I was thinking about the ways in which our making our world a more complex place has also made it less secure--and especially the ways in which increasing spending on security can give us less and less return for our money (which led to, among others, this article).

Some years ago, with Kaldor's book still as timely as ever because of its analysis of gold-plated weapons and the economic implications of the military-industrial complexes that make them, I penned a review of the book itself for my other blog.

As it happens, David Edgerton makes quite a bit of reference to the book in his study of the post-World War I British military-industrial complex, Warfare State (just reviewed here on Raritania). By and large, his references to the book are in line with his view that British historians have tended to slight the British "warfare state," when acknowledging it at all tending to identify it as just a consumer of the technologies civilians make to it, rather than a significant shaper of the course of technological progress in its own right (for better or worse). It struck me that he was off the mark in characterizing William H. McNeill's classic The Pursuit of Power in this way, somewhat less so in discussing Kaldor, but enough so that it seems worth remarking the fact here--and also reposting my earlier review of Kaldor's book here on Raritania.

Review: Warfare State: Britain, 1920-1970, by David Edgerton

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