Defence reform and economic policy

Throughout the 20th century, Norwegian defence has undergone several reforms. This project analyses to what extent reforms in the Norwegian defence sector have been shaped by and interacted with the economic-political regime.

Although significant changes in the international situation concerning the Great Powers has been influential on these defence reforms, national economic and political developments may perhaps have been quite as important. At the same time, these national economic and political conditions have also been influenced by international developments.

An important example is in the reconstruction phase in the aftermaths of World War 2. The Norwegian governing elites wanted to utilize all national resources to build the country, but NATO membership forced Norway into channelling substantial funds to rebuild the defence sector. Despite significant transfers over the state budgets, the US arms aid programme in the 1950s and 60s was pivotal for the massive restructuring of the Norwegian armed forces that took place. However, as the favourable arms aid disappeared, considerable economic and organisational troubles erupted. Although the arms aid in the short run gave financial advantage and rebuilt the defence sector completely, in the longer run the programme entailed a dependence, which bears resemblance to developing countries after receiving foreign aid. The arms aid programme of the 1950s and -60s thus shaped the entire structure of the Norwegian defence sector until the end of the Cold War.

The projects framework is the period from the interwar years up until our days, after the end of the Cold War. This period coincides with substantial developments in how the role of the state in economy and society has been perceived. It is perhaps best described as a pendulum swung from the old liberal era, to the opposite extremity of strong governance it the post war years, and back again to vast belief in the role of free markets and disbelief in a large public sector and governmental control from the 1980s.

Selected publications by Gjermund Rongved (for full overview go to staff page)

  • 2017. The Gold War: the dissolution of the Scandinavian Currency Union during the First World War. Scandinavian Economic History Review 65 (3): 243–262.
  • 2012. "Money Talks. Failed cooperation over the gold problem of the Scandinavian Monetary Union during the First World War". In Scandinavia in the First World War: Studies in the War Experience of the Northern Neutrals, edited by Claes Ahlund, 225–246. Nordic Academic Press.
  • 2011. "Under pressure". The Central Banks and Neutral Scandinavia's Politics of Supplying Belligerents With Credit during the First World War. EABH bulletin (2): 50–62.
Published 09 February 2018 09:49..