Steven Schofield, 'Peace and Prosperity: Transition from Permanent Military Economy to Advanced Civil Economy'

IssueMarch - May 2003
Review by Andrew Rigby

Steve Schofield is one of the foremost experts on demilitarisation and the conversion of military resources to civilian use. He is a kind of practical utopian, someone who has always used his specialist knowledge and rigorous analytical approach to inform his pursuit of a world without war.

In his latest book he takes a clear look at how the search for the twin goals of peace and prosperity - through the three pillars of federalism, international trade and comprehensive disarmament - have been at the heart of progressive internationalism over generations.

It is this tradition that he seeks to revive and update, following its corruption during the Cold War period when missiles to obliterate cities became metaphors for peace, and when prosperity became the pursuit of material wealth for the privileged.

Highlighting the bankruptcy of those who argue that military expenditure is both necessary and inevitable in the “real world”, Steve puts forward the case for a new political economy of common security within which advanced industrial societies can make the transition from permanent military to sustainable civil economy, so long as the capacity for innovation in new technologies is focused on civil sectors like renewable energy and on the real global security issues of poverty, economic inequality and environmental degradation.

We live in a time when global capitalism is exacerbating disparities in wealth and power, both within and between societies, and it is easy to feel helpless in the face of such seemingly impersonal powers that appear to be driving us towards social and environmental collapse. Steve Schofield reminds us that there is another possible future, one driven by those millions of people who recognise the immense dangers of militarism and the opportunities that progressive internationalism and common security offer as a way of transcending the terrible legacy of barbarism and warfare of the last century.

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