Monday, November 1, 2010

The Price of War

The price of war is always more than we think. 

This video from Medal of Honor winners (those that survived their heroic act--many medals are given posthumously) was created to encourage the current set of warriors to seek help with post traumatic stress.  "The enemy comes home with you."  Very moving stuff.  

The timing, for me, is ironic, as my students in my big intro class just handed in a paper that had to make sense of two assertions: that war is a mistake and there is less war now than in the past.  The former assertion comes from Fearon and others who claim that rational actors would settle their differences short of war since war is so costly.  That the only ways to explain via this approach is to focus on incentives to hide information, the problems of credible commitment and if the stakes are indivisible (that there is no possible bargain).  This video reminds me that war is, indeed, very, very costly.  But I will not provide an answer to the conundrum I posed to my students as there are still students who will be handing in papers late (with or without extensions).

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