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     Jul 22, '14

World War I still bad news
By Martin Hutchinson

A fascinating new book, Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!: A World Without World War I by Richard Ned Lebow (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), looks at history's likely trajectory if the Sarajevo assassin Gavrilo Princip had missed. He concludes that, while much would be changed, we would at best be only modestly better off.

However, Lebow is not an economist, and he misses two enormous economic factors that would almost certainly be different in a world without World War I. His "worst-world" scenario

might have derailed us, but absent that, 2014 without World War I would probably enjoy much greater prosperity than today's real world.

Lebow's book takes its subject seriously; he constructs "Best World" and "Worst World" scenarios in which he explores how the world would have evolved given a century of big-power peace, and what might have gone wrong. Franz Ferdinand himself plays an important role. Initially staving off calls for war, after his accession on Franz Josef's death in 1916, he reforms Austria-Hungary by turning the Dual Monarchy into a Triple Monarchy.

That results in more power for the Slavs while democratizing Hungary, thus breaking the power of the Hungarian baronage. Austria-Hungary thus remains a stable element in the following century in both scenarios, on average somewhat richer than in real life and playing an especially important cultural, scientific and economic-theory role as its 20th-century diaspora doesn't happen.

The split between "best" and "worst" worlds comes in the Kaiser's Germany, where a coup around 1920 takes one of two forms. The first is a democratic one ... More ...

Martin Hutchinson is the author of Great Conservatives (Academica Press, 2005) - details can be found on the website www.greatconservatives.com - and co-author with Professor Kevin Dowd of Alchemists of Loss (Wiley, 2010). Both are now available on Amazon.com, Great Conservatives only in a Kindle edition, Alchemists of Loss in both Kindle and print editions.

(Republished with permission from PrudentBear.com. Copyright 2005-14 David W Tice & Associates.)




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