An Austrian perspective on militarism

Published by Elgar

Find the full chapter here.

Militarism and heavy-handed interventionism are practical cornerstones of
US foreign policy. Writing on what he terms the “new American militarism,”
historian Andrew Bacevich (2005, p. 14) notes that “at the end of the Cold
War, Americans said yes to military power. The skepticism about arms and
armies that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished.
Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamored with
military might.” Discussions surrounding the issue of militarism have received
substantial attention in recent years, particularly as it relates to the militariza-
tion of US domestic policing (see Diaz and Mountz 2020; Lowe 2020; Hall and
Coyne 2013; and Coyne and Hall 2014b, 2018). But discussions of militarism
are not new and not relegated to discussions of contemporary law enforcement
agencies and tactics.

This chapter aims to discuss the contributions of Austrian scholars to the
discourse surrounding militarism and militarization and to offer ideas on
where Austrian scholars may further contribute. The unique methodological
perspective of those working within the Austrian tradition provides an oppor-
tunity for scholars to explore areas that would otherwise be neglected. The rest
of this chapter proceeds as follows. In the next section, I outline the historical
and contemporary literatures related to militarism and militarization. I then
discuss how important figures within the Austrian tradition have contributed
to our understanding of militarism. I provide an overview of some of the key
themes from the Austrian school and illustrate how contemporary Austrian
researchers have utilized these tools to enhance our understanding of mili-
tarism, militarization, and defense economics as a whole. Finally, I conclude
with a discussion of areas particularly suitable for further inquiry.