Economia do Conflito

Jack Hirshleifer

Os leitores deste blog sabem que eu gosto muito do recém-falecido Jack Hirshleifer, notadamente por seus escritos em Economia do Conflito.

Eu não havia visto esta entrevista, mas vale a pena ler tudo. Eis um bom trecho.

W.P: Fine. I don’t know if this is a sensitive point for you or for Americans in general, but is there anything you would like to say regarding the recent terrorist attacks to the U.S.? How do you interpret that from your perspective?

J.H: Yes, that is quite interesting. I have a recent paper on appeasement in the American Economic Review . Sometimes we hear or we read in history that it never pays to appease an aggressor. Before World War II, at Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was trying to appease Hitler to say, “oh, I will give you this, I will give you that, then you’ll be satisfied, we hope, and we will not have a war”. Whereas, Winston Churchill, said, “no, no, it will not work”, and of course Churchill was absolutely right. Now the question is how general is that? Is it always true that you should never appease someone who is hostile to you? Or might it be the case that sometimes appeasing might make sense? This paper in the American Economic Review says, yes, there are circumstances where it might make sense. Nevertheless even though there are circumstances in which appeasement might make sense, they did not apply to Hitler. So Churchill was right, but that doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely always right, never, never to appease. Here is the key idea. Assume the other party is hostile. Even so, it might pay to appease him if, by making him richer, he becomes less hostile. The point is that as he gets wealthier, he will devote less effort to attacking you, then it might pay to buy him off. But, if, when he gets wealthier, he will devote more effort to attacking you, then it goes the other way. So, in the case of Hitler, Chamberlain thought: well, he’s really not a very nice man, but it could be that if we make him more powerful or wealthier, then he’ll realize that it makes sense not to go to war. Whereas Churchill thought that would be giving him the resources with which to buy weapons and attack us more. In my opinion that’s the situation here also. Let’s say we’re talking now about anti-American extremists or Islamic extremists, are they people who can be bought off? My own belief: no, they can’t. I don’t think this is a case where appeasement pays. Appeasement can sometimes pay, but I’d say no, not in this case. I don’t think these are people who can be bought off. So, going easy on them, giving them more resources, in my opinion, is not going to work.

Claudio

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