Archives for military



Who Pays to Train Pilots?

A recent Buffalo News article discusses how the airlines are lobbying to rescind a new provision requiring commercial pilots to obtain 1,500 hours of flight training before they are certified (a Congressional response to last year’s fatal crash in Buffalo). The companies believe that this will cause pilots’ wages to rise (to pay for the increased training costs the pilots must incur), causing average total costs to increase, increasing industry prices and reducing output and profits. Read More »



Incentivizing Military Service

I asked my Turkish teaching assistant, a first-year Ph.D. student, what he’s doing about compulsory military service. To simplify, he is only liable for six months of service as a university graduate, instead of the usual one year; and if he stays here for three years or more, he can further delay service. Read More »



Mao’s Little Red Aircraft Carrier

Freakonomics readers know that a baby’s name reveals more about its parents than about the baby. That’s also true of naval ships. The Christian Science Monitor reports that China’s online community has taken a strong interest in naming that country’s first aircraft carrier — if it ever gets built. The most favored name? Mao Zedong. China’s state newspaper approved, with one caveat: if an aircraft carrier named after Mao is damaged in battle, “it might hurt ordinary people’s feelings.” Read More »



Surprising Facts About Child Soldiers

The problem of children used as soldiers has been gaining visibility since, among other things, former child soldier Ishmael Beah published his memoir. But the image of the child soldier as a young African boy with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder isn’t as descriptive of the problem as you might think. Read More »



The Army's Not Coming Up Short

NPR reported last month that, for the first time in five years, the U.S. Army had more than met its recruiting goals. This happens every time unemployment rises, and it should be absolutely no surprise. People choose military service after high school partly out of a desire to serve the country; but there is strong […] Read More »



Embracing the Meshugganah

This piece from Tom Ricks, the military correspondent at the Washington Post, has some excellent stories about creative anti-terrorist strategies used by the British to fight the I.R.A., including a laundromat where they run the clothes through a machine that tests for bomb residue before they dry clean the clothes. To pin down where the […] Read More »



Who Serves in the Military Today?

Three of the four candidates in the upcoming election have a son who has either served in Iraq or soon will: Jimmy McCain, Beau Biden, and Track Palin. (And the children of the fourth candidate, Barack Obama, are a bit too young for military duty.) Is this sheer happenstance? I am guessing that when Obama […] Read More »



War Is …

According to the Yale Book of Quotations (whose future editions are being improved by Freakonomics readers), war is: “hell” (Napoleon Bonaparte), “too serious a matter to entrust to to military men” (Georges Clemenceau), and “a condition of progress” (Ernest Renan). What follows below are 12 replies to the question “What do you think about war […] Read More »