Property Distribution and Configurations of Sovereign States: A Rational Economic Model

Martin C. McGuire , Defence and Peace Economics 13(4) , 251-270 , August 2002.

A nation's wealth is both an object of conquest to covetous aggressors and a resource to its owners for self defense. To maintain autonomy every country must mount a defense which either makes its capture (1) more expensive than any aggressor can afford, or (2) more expensive than it is worth to aggressors. Whether this condition can be satisfied for all countries simultaneously depends as shown in this paper on relative efficacy of military offense versus defense, the aggregate of wealth among nations and its distribution, and the benefits a conqueror may obtain from conquest, including the duration of these benefits. The paper shows how these factors fit together to determine the sustainability and stability of the international distribution of property as embodied in the configuration of sovereign states.

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