WAR! What is it Good For?

Posted on February 21, 2018

flyer with text reading War! what is it good for?

Please join us for the presentation of “War! What is it Good For?” presented by Phi Betta Kappa Visiting Scholar Price Fishback. This event is open to the public and a reception will follow in the SOEB rear lobby (facing the Bryan School Courtyard).

Is war good for the economy? Many people seem to think so, and they often cite the American experience during World War II as an example: “World War II brought us out of the Great Depression.” “Americans never had it so good, producing more guns and more butter.” We fought the War to prevent the Axis from establishing fascism throughout large parts of the world. But make no mistake. To fight the War, Americans had to sacrifice. The presentation talks about both the amazing output of the war effort and how much Americans sacrificed in the process. It is also important to remember, however, that Americans were the lucky ones because so little fighting took place on American soil. The sacrifices in the rest of the world were much larger.


Price Fishback, PhD, is an economic historian and acclaimed author. His research deals with the US political economy of President Rosevelt’s New Deal (1930’s), labor legislation of the Progressive Era, and the American Economy during World War II. He is a professor of economics at the University of Arizona and recipient of numerous prestigious awards such as the Clio Can awarded by the Cliometric Society.

Authored Books:

  • Well Worth Saving:  How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership, with Jonathan Rose and Kenneth Snowden. 2013.  Chicago, IL:  University of Chicago Press.
  • Government and the American Economy:  A New History.Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2007.    Editor and Organizer of co-authored book with Robert Higgs, Gary Libecap, John Wallis, Stanley Engerman, Jeffrey Hummel, Sumner LaCroix, Robert Margo, Robert McGuire, Richard Sylla, Lee Alston, Joseph Ferrie, Mark Guglielmo, E.C. Pasour, Jr., Randal Rucker, and Werner Troesken
  • Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers’ Compensation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. With Shawn E. Kantor.
  • Soft Coal, Hard Choices: The Economic Welfare of Bituminous Coal Miners, 1890 to 1930. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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