The Political Economy of Destructive Power

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Mehrdad Vahabi, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Management and Research Member, LED (Laboratoire d’Economie Dionysien), University of Paris VIII, France

Economic science has extensively studied the creative power of individuals and social groups, but it has largely ignored the destructive power of economic agents. This highly original book redresses the balance and, for the first time, looks at how much an agent can destroy. Destructive power is conceptualised in a unique way, covering all types of deliberate (violent and non-violent) social conflict behaviour. The theoretical arguments in the book are skilfully linked to burning political issues of our time such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Second Gulf War.

‘Mehrdad Vahabi has produced a unique and original analysis of the economic roles of violence, both its destructive and – more interestingly – its constructive role. He demonstrates successful and unsuccessful uses of violence with examples from ancient times to our time. The book is thorough, erudite, and full of surprises.’
– Thomas C. Schelling, University of Maryland, US

‘This is a fascinating book. Traditionally, economists have been engaged in studying the process of how products and services are created, and have thought about the issue of how they are destroyed only tangentially. Mehrdad Vahabi’s strikingly original idea is to put destruction into the centre of attention. Perhaps the title is – due to the modesty of the author – too narrow because the book goes far beyond the borderlines of “political economy”. This is a truly interdisciplinary work, using the toolkit of the social sciences (including economics, political science and sociology) but also raising relevant philosophical issues and embedding the analysis into an historical context. The reader will be impressed by the width of the literature cited to assist in the explanation of the complexities of destructive processes.’
– János Kornai, Harvard University, US and Collegium Budapest, Hungary

2004 296 pp Hardback 978 1 84376 898 2 £99.00 £89.10 $146.00 $131.40

Elgaronline 978 1 84542 172 4

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