The Business of Death: Britain’s Arms Trade at Home and Abroad (Library of International Relations)

Why does a medium-sized European power such as Britain have such an enormous arms industry? In this book, Neil Cooper explores the lingering imperial culture which drives the attitudes behind Britain’s arms business. He reviews the perceived economic and political benefits flowing from Britain’s arms exports and argues that the country’s economic, military and political security are actually eroded by its arms trade. Tracing the ways in which the traditional non-competitive protectionist “preferred contractor” approach of the pre-Thatcher years gave way to a more competitive approach in the 1980s, Cooper shows that Thatcherite free-market thinking conflicted quite fundamentally with the Ministry of Defence’s in-built resistance to change.

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