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Sunday, April 27, 2008


Those Free Riding ______!

During time in between classes last week we had a discussion about how America is always fighting wars somewhat alone. It seems as though there is not really all that much involvement in conflicts by other countries that are a part of the “functioning core” as Barnett calls them. We see that American forces are stepping in to conflicts but we don’t here too much of France, Germany, Spain or Italy hoping on to the bandwagon to help out. Professor Eubanks had the idea that the number of soldiers in these countries probably have declined over the years because of the logic of collective action.
I took a look at the number of soldiers in the German army over the 90’s and early part of the 21’st century and found that there was a decline in the number of soldiers. At the beginning of the 90’s there were over 255,000 soldiers and by 2000 there were only 230,000.
Applying the logic of collective action to the number of soldiers seems to be proven true that the numbers would go down, but why? Well the answer is: they are free riding. Think of it this way, each country is part of a group of countries. As the number of countries in this group grows it becomes a large group. Well we all know that large groups do not function unless they offer selective incentives or have an element of coercion to force the countries to do things. Well if there are no selective incentives which there are none and each country cannot force another country to help out, then you will get free riders. I think that is what is happening now, America is stuck doing all the work well the free riding jerks are just sitting back and watching. There are a number of countries that could help out with rebuilding Iraq but no, you don’t hear of them really putting the large number of soldiers out there. All they do is complain about what we do. This is why their numbers have fallen, because they think America can do the work. Why have so many soldiers when it’s not going to match the numbers or power of the American forces? The logic of collective action rings true again. Large groups don’t work, and free riders always cruse along for the ride.

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