What are some causes and effects of militarism?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Militarism is caused by a number of different factors.  First, a government may build up its military if it perceives a domestic or foreign threat.  The government will increase military spending to prevent conflict with these groups.  A second reason for military buildups is to increase the potential for expansion.  This imperialist agenda is put forth to increase wealth and resources for a country.  Another reason for militarism is that it may help a country's economy as defense industries benefit from increased military spending, a jobs are created in those fields.

Militarism does have the potential to cause wars between countries, and these wars tend to be very destructive.  This was the case in World War I as European nations spent decades building up their arms, which culminated in a deadly stalemate during the early part of this war.

Another effect of militarism has to do with the economic concept of trade-off or opportunity cost.  As a country spends larger amounts of money on the military, other domestic programs like education and infrastructure development will receive less.  Militarism also has the potential for powerful defense contractors to dictate foreign policy of a nation.  

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