Thursday, April 14, 2011

What is Expeditionary Economics?

"Expeditionary Economics" is a new term for an old and profitable idea.
On Wednesday, Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave an important speech to the United States Military Academy at West Point.   Donohue spoke at some length about "Expeditionary Economics"--an old idea that created a lot of buzz after an article with the title appeared in Foreign Affairs last year.  Donohue:
The idea of “expeditionary economics” involves training officers to apply economic principles with a smart and entrepreneurial spirit while also taking account of local circumstances. It recognizes that it takes more than troops and weapons to establish peaceful, stable, democratic societies. It takes hope and opportunity that only free enterprise and a strong private sector can provide.
...we’ve been involved in expeditionary economics long before the term was coined. The Chamber has an affiliate called the Center for International Private Enterprise, also known as CIPE. Through CIPE, we are working to build the capacity of local business organizations and promote the kind of reforms needed for entrepreneurs to thrive.

One of our key tools is a program that the U.S. Chamber has used for many years. It’s called the national business agenda—a set of legal and regulatory reforms needed to strengthen the business environment.

Over the last several years, CIPE has led the way with local groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries to help them push for reform and build their economies.
DoF comment:  Iraq is where this concept was most profitably applied.
Ultimately, it’s essential for both the military and the private sector to work in partnership with the people of these countries to create stability and prosperity. The Chamber and the American business community are strong supporters of expeditionary economics. We pledge to work with the military to advance this important concept.
DoF comment:  What is Expeditionary Economics?   In theory, the concept makes explicit what has always been an implicit goal of US foreign policy: exporting American-style capitalism to developing countries.  In practice, Expeditionary Economics describes how US military intervention can profit well-connected American businesspeople.  Our wars open markets, allowing private corporations to purchase formerly state-owned resources and formerly state-run infrastructure.  By networking with the US military, American firms can literally "seize" business opportunities abroad.  Ultimately, American military officers practicing Expeditionary Economics become the "eyes and ears" of the Chamber and its members throughout the war zones of the developing world.

Investors profit when corporations partner with the military.   Expeditionary Economics is just a new term to describe the fruition of this partnership.  Yet Expeditionary Economics cannot thrive in a vacuum.  Unless America continues to intervene abroad militarily, unless we continue to invest in a strong defense, one day there might be no place for America to practice Expeditionary Economics.    The United States Department of Fear lays the necessary foundation for Expeditionary Economics by keeping the American People alert to possible dangers.

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