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The Poverty of Statistics: Military Power, Defence Expenditure and Strategic Balance
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Jan Ludvík, World Economics, March 2015
Military expenditure and the number of service personnel are the two features most commonly used to compare national military power. The question remains, however, to what extent these reflect the real-world situation. This study aims to provide an answer by using economic and military data about conflicts between great powers over the last 160 years. Correlations of War data are employed to show that the relationship between pre-war military expenditure and army size on the one hand and outcomes of war on the other, is blurry to say the least. States with higher military expenditure prevailed in only six of the nine conflicts between great powers examined in this research. Only four of the nine were won by the state with the larger peacetime army. Using the case of the Franco-Prussian War, this work illustrates that even the superiority of both mentioned variables cannot ward off a crushing defeat, let alone ensure victory. A nation’s military power stems from its ability to adapt effectively to the realities of modern warfare. This is what neither high military expenditure nor sheer soldier numbers can guarantee.
America’s Dangerously Opaque Public Accounting Systems
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Avantika Chilkoti, World Economics, March 2012
The current global economic crisis has highlighted the problems that result from governments’ archaic and erroneous accounting practices. The Financial Report of the United States Government is scrutinised with the same pedantry that an auditor or long-term investor uses when studying the financial statements of a listed company. What emerges is an all too clear picture of the extent and the root of America’s economic crisis. USA Inc. is found to have a net worth of minus $44 trillion, a symptom of unfunded liabilities that have grown as entitlement expenditure has rocketed. As well as changes in policy, it is the external auditing of government accounts that is suggested as a potential panacea for this global epidemic.

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