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senior seminar paper - Xereas-Gonzales 1 Alexandria...

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Xereas-Gonzales 1 Alexandria Xereas-Gonzales Government 491 Professor Clemens October 14, 2009 Scarcity: The Driving Force of Economics and National Security In this essay, I will argue that scarcity and power drives the economics of a state and thus feeds into its national security. Since the most primitive of times, states have known scarcity and power to cause great conflict in terms of economy and national security. This fear has been the culprit for multiple wars and conflicts between states. States, even those who have historically cooperated with one another, are mindful that other actors do not achieve gains higher to theirs to ensure their security and soaring economy. When things are difficult to ascertain and states are facing the prospect of deprivation, across multiple fronts, the onset of war, or at least conflict, is extremely likely - even amongst “allies”. Even in the most ancient of times, a state’s primary concern was to make certain that it had all variables necessary for survival. It seems as though things have changed very little, if at all, throughout the course of history. This essay will provide a historical overview through to the present of the power scarcity has over states and the impact it has on the likely prospect of war, if need be. Thomas Hobbes argues in chapter XIII of “The Natural Condition of Mankind: As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery,” that equality amongst men is universal. He says that “the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned
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together the difference between man and man is not so considerable.” In short, Hobbes states that one man against another man is equal in mind and body; however, one man can show dominion over another by being sharper in mind and somewhat faster in body. He argues that although man can exhibit dominion, another man can also achieve this dominion through practice and his tenacious will to exceed. This example can be thought of as a metaphor to developed and developing states. A developed state with a booming economy and more than sufficient national security can, in fact, show dominion over developing states. The catch, however, is that these states can only do so until there is a transition in power, in which the developing state rises to primacy and demonstrates its own dominion, and inevitably becomes a force to be reckoned with. Hobbes is important to cite in the above mentioned argument because he best captures the most formative principles and stages of this dilemma. Hobbes strongly notes that man will use whatever he can to destroy another man which he feels threatened by. He says man will “deprive him, not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life or liberty. And the invader again is in the like danger of another.” The latter quote is perhaps one of the strongest statements to support this argument. While one man feels the need to
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