Conflict, disaster, and destruction--despite their historical and current significance--have not yet been adequately studied from the economic point of view. Economic Behaviour in Adversity brings together ten important essays, several previously unpublished, dealing with the choices people make in times of disaster and conflict. These essays help explain the possibilities and limits of human cooperation under severe environmental pressure. Part I, "Disaster and Recovery," contains previously unpublished studies of major historical catastrophes, among them the Black Death of the fourteenth century, the Civil War in Russia that followed the Bolshevik revolution, and the mass bombing of Germany and of Japan during World War II. Accompanying the historical studies are several analytical papers that interpret the disaster experience.
The essays in Part II, "Cooperation and Conflict," represent innovative theoretical analyses based on a common theme--that cooperation and conflict are alternative strategies whereby individuals, groups, and different forms of social organization struggle with one another for evolutionary survival. Ultimately, these essays indicate, the political economy of the human species is an instance of Darwin's "economy of nature."