Economic Viability After Thermonuclear War

The Limits of Feasible Production

by Sidney G. Winter


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A study of certain aspects of the question of how, and under what circumstances, the resources surviving a thermonuclear war could be used to create an economy capable of supporting the population, maintaining its capital stock, and meeting other urgent national needs. The main focus is on the limits imposed on production in the postattack economy by the availability of resources and the technological conditions. The reorganization problem is treated as being synonomous with the problem of achieving a viable economy. A solution to the problems of making effective use of surviving resources is satisfactory only if it is permanent. No predictions are made of the course of economic events after a war; instead a range of situations is considered and discussed in terms of production limits, rather than of actual outcomes given particular organizational arrangements. Some tentative judgments are made on the levels of attack at which viability would become unlikely without preattack preparations.

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