Orthodox economics has long treated defense from threats foreign and domestic as a public good requiring provision by a central nation-state. Yet both theory and history show how polycentric defense systems, with dispersed groups of people searching for context-specific solutions, have provided collective security.

Christopher J. Coyne is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and Co-Editor of The Independent Review. He is the author of the new book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peace.
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Nathan P. Goodman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics at George Mason University.
AfghanistanAsiaDefense and Foreign PolicyDefense BudgetDiplomacy and Foreign AidEuropeNorth Africa and The Middle EastTerrorism and Homeland Security
Other Independent Review articles by Christopher J. Coyne
Spring 2023 How to Run Wars: A Confidential Playbook for the National Security Elite
Spring 2023 The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War
Winter 2022/23 Why We Fight: The Roots of War and Paths to Peace
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Other Independent Review articles by Nathan P. Goodman
Spring 2021 Infectious Diseases and Government Growth
Fall 2020 The Politics of War Powers: The Theory and History of Presidential Unilateralism
Fall 2019 Self-Regulation and Human Progress: How Society Gains When We Govern Less