Ben Branham, 212-704-4577, email@example.com, Edelman
Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kauffman Foundation
Author and Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm proposes new model for rebuilding economies of post-conflict countries
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) April 20, 2010 – At a time when Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti are struggling with economic reconstruction efforts, Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, proposes a new model for how the U.S. should prepare for and engage following foreign conflicts and natural disasters. In an article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs (PDF) Schramm builds on extensive Kauffman research to introduce and underscore the importance of "expeditionary economics," which speaks to the challenge of igniting and sustaining economic growth during and especially after major conflicts.
The argument for expeditionary economics points out that U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered from poor preparation, use of large contracts to multinational companies, and too much reliance on international development agencies. Post-conflict economic development, instead, should emphasize the formation and growth of firms, ideally firms that are capable of scaling and thus employing many people. Because the military often has been left with responsibility for economic efforts, it must begin to develop its own economic expertise in this area.
"Economic growth within a country has more lasting power to advance peace and stability than any form of military force. Economic development needn’t wait for stabilization – rather, they are mutually reinforcing," Schramm writes. "Because the military is always the most powerful actor in these environments, sharpening its ability to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship within theaters of operation will greatly aid in reconstruction efforts and help accelerate peaceful transferences of power."
The doctrine of expeditionary economics starts with the recognition that a country’s political and social stability stems from economic opportunity and job growth. While the application of expeditionary economics will vary by country, core strategies include identifying high-growth entrepreneurial opportunities specific to each area, creating tailored financing plans that support immediate developmental needs, directing U.S. government and private investment to local businesses through locally based lending institutions and awarding infrastructure contracts to local entrepreneurs rather than to foreign contractors.
In both the military and post-war development spheres, there has been a lack of strategic attention paid to the postwar economy. Citing the troubled reconstruction efforts in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Schramm encourages the development of a new economic competence that will reduce reliance on international development agencies, foreign contractors and nongovernmental organization models currently deployed in current conflict areas and post-disaster countries such as Haiti.
Expeditionary economics has already sparked interest and debate in the highest levels of the military. In May, the Kauffman Foundation and the Command and General Staff College Foundation, which supports the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in the development of military leaders, will co-host the Summit on Entrepreneurship and Expeditionary Economics, where military leaders and scholars will explore in-depth how to implement the doctrine in the field.