Arms Races. Technological and Political Dynamics

Edited Volume

Njølstad, Olav; & Nils Petter Gleditsch, eds, (1990) Arms Races. Technological and Political Dynamics. London.

What are the driving forces behind the arms race?

This book takes up internal factors on arms dynamics, such as bureaucratic politics, interservice rivalry, and the military-industrial complex, as well as external factors such as interactive arms dynamics between two superpowers.

It addresses technological determinism — the idea that what is technically possible will be done, against the idea that 'politics is in command'. Finally, it examines how such factors as long economic waves an power transitions in the international system affect arms races.

These issues are approached from a variety of theoretical viewpoints and with a wide selection of empirical illustrations. Existing case studies of the development of strategic weapons systems are extensively reviewed, as are the main quantitative studies of the causes and consequenses of the arms race. The focus is on market economies, but two chapters examine the roles of the Soviet Union and China in the arms race.

This book is central to international relational, strategic studies, and peace research. Students will find it particularly useful as an up-to-date survey of current theory and research. The extensive bibliography also makes this volume an invaluable reference tool.


Nils Petter Gleditsch

Nils Petter Gleditsch

Research Professor; Professor Emeritus of Political Science, NTNU

Olav Njølstad

Olav Njølstad

Research Assistant