A Hard Look at the Costs of Peace


Jacques Fontanel & Michael D. Ward

Published: June 2002


The United States has emerged as a hegemonic, dominant military power exactly during the period when its military expenditures have grown least. The end of the Cold War did indeed deliver a huge dividend to its largest beneficiary, the United States. During this same period, the US economy has also doubled, fueled by the rapid increases in productivity brought on by the information economy. These two stylized facts stand in sharp relief to a 40-year period in which there was a bipolar balance of power and much more modest economic growth in industrial as well as developing societies. As beneficial as these changes are, it must be recognized that they also undermine the political and economic status quo ante. In this article the authors speculate about the importance of legitimacy in a global political economy dominated by a single major power. New organizational forms of conflict management may actually be fostered by such a disequilibrating state of affairs.



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