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How States Pay for Wars$
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Rosella Capella Zielinski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702495

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702495.001.0001

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How States Pay for Wars

How States Pay for Wars

(p.10) 1 How States Pay for Wars
How States Pay for Wars

Rosella Cappella Zielinski

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains how states confront the costs of fighting a war. In 1749, the poet Samuel Johnson had written that wars result in such vast sums of debt that they bankrupt the state, while Adam Smith, a quarter century later, claimed that war is the only means to which the state can raise taxes avoiding said debt. This chapter provides a framework for understanding the tension between Johnson's poem and Smith's claim. In attempting to reconcile these two conflicting notions, the chapter first provides a foundation for the study of war finance, before offering a theory to account for war finance policies chosen.

Keywords:   domestic debt, war taxation, Samuel Johnson, war finance policy, war costs, Adam Smith

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