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Stephen Haber

“Modern, industrialized warfare is extraordinarily expensive—so expensive that its prosecution requires a state to take on tremendous public debt. The question facing a state, whether it wins or loses the war, is how it can survive politically under the constraint of the debt. The carefully researched essays in this fascinating book not only show how the belligerents in World War I experimented with a combination of strategies—tax increases, financial repression, inflation, debt rescheduling, selective default, and inter-governmental guarantees—to address this political optimization problem, they also show the long-run economic costs of those strategies. The analyses not only teach us about history but have implications for the present day.”