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Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Preventions$
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Charles H. Anderton and Jurgen Brauer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199378296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199378296.001.0001

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Identity and Incentives

Identity and Incentives

An Economic Interpretation of the Holocaust

Chapter:
(p.318) 14 Identity and Incentives
Source:
Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Preventions
Author(s):

Raul Caruso

Charles H. Anderton

Jurgen Brauer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199378296.003.0014

Contrary to still widely held public opinion, a substantial number of purposeful (“rational”) actors played specific roles in bringing about an outcome that can be meaningfully interpreted in an economic conceptual framework. This chapter offers an interpretation of the Holocaust along the lines of economic theory and public choice. The Holocaust was an inhumane and brutal genocide, a gigantic predatory enterprise shaped and engineered by a complex institutional machinery. The chapter proposes a general interpretation based on the inclusion of identity-associated elements in the utility functions of Nazis. Under the Nazi regime, the production and strengthening of Nazi identity was a matter of political economy. In addition, interpretations of Aryanization (appropriation of Jewish property) and the running of extermination camps are provided.

Keywords:   Holocaust, identity, expropriation, dehumanization, Aryanization, extermination camps

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