Military power means "arms", referring to "weapons" (e.g. guns, tanks, battleships, fortresses, etc.), "warriors" (e.g. soldiers, sailors, pilots and support personnel), and "walls" (e.g. fortifications, border fences, and even castles). How do money and markets influence the acquisition and application of "arms"? This is the fundamental question asked by scholars who explore the political economy of security.
My earliest academic-oriented writing delved into this subject, appearing as a textbook titled The Economics of War. This textbook was published by McGraw Hill-Irwin (Poast 2006) and, as is the case with most textbooks, was focused on organizing existing ideas in the literature, rather than producing original research itself. But organizing ideas within this book established the foundation upon which I then made original research contributions a few years later. These contributions will culminate in a piece I was invited to write for the Annual Review of Political Science, in which I will situate the political economy of security within the broader field of international relations (a version of this paper targeted towards undergraduates is available here).
My research on the political economy of security falls into three areas: the political economy of weapons, the political economy of walls, and the political economy of alliances. The three links below go to pages that summarize my resarch in these areas.