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The military as an economic actor

soldiers in business


Armed forces across the globe maintain commercial interests in various sectors of their nation's economy, ranging from pharmaceutical and banking companies in China, logging and shrimp farming in Indonesia to the mining of precious metals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These activities are often justified by the need of impoverished governments to find new sources of extra-budgetary revenue for the military, as well as by pointing towards the specific role of a nation's military in promoting development. This book provides a critical assessment of this claim, comparing experiences with "military business" from four continents (Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America). While the jury is still out on the macro-economic net effect of this phenomenon, this book finds disturbing cases of corruption and mismanagement, as well as a lack of military professionalism in the countries affected by military business. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the volume shows the implications of "military business" for civil-military relations, good governance and international development policies.