I’m delighted to be welcoming Michael Taillard to Jera’s Jamboree today.
Michael is a freelance economist specializing in behavioral and strategy research. In addition to writing, he has taught economics for universities and graduate schools around the world, has been a featured speaker at conferences across the US, has appeared in documentaries and local news media, and has completed a number of consulting projects for companies, non-profits, and government organizations. His written works include Corporate Finance for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons), 101 Things Everyone Needs to Know About the Global Economy (Adams Media), and the highly notable Modern Warfare collection from Palgrave Macmillan – Economics and Modern Warfare, Psychology and Modern Warfare, and the upcoming Analytics and Modern Warfare.
Please summarize your collection of books in 20 words or less.
A collection of foundational books using historical analyses to derive social scientific principles which accomplish military goals without physical violence.
What was the idea/inspiration for your books?
I was simply sitting one day, bored to the point of being nearly comatose, and while allowing my mind to wander it dawned on me that conflict was the result of differences in ideas. Delving into the causes of warfare, it became clear that it was mere differences in ideas about subject beliefs that were always at the root – ideas about who should run things, the way they should be run, about resources rights, about fairness in the income disparity, about differences in religion or culture, and things of this sort. Since all conflict results from the competition of subjective ideas, then the natural implication is that the most effective resolution to these conflicts would be found in the management of ideas. Through economic manipulation, psychological management, social engineering, and quantitative analytics, conflicts can be resolved much more effectively than through simple fighting, making warfare essentially obsolete. By fighting, you don’t win the war of ideas, which leaves little accomplished once the fighting is over, and fighting becomes unnecessary once you begin addressing the root cause of warfare rather than addressing warfare itself.
Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?
Each of these books required quite a lot of research. A great deal of it came from historical records – accounts of battles and warfare strategies through the ages. There really has been a long history of battles won without fighting, but they’ve been largely ignored or seen as strategic anomalies because they weren’t looked at with the proper perspective. I also did a vast amount of reading on military strategy, ranging from Sun Tzu and Zhuge Liang of ancient China, to the more modern works such as those of General Patton and the analysts of recent Psyops programs. Of course, developing the kind of expertise necessary to begin this undertaking also required quite a lot of professional and academic research, but that just comes with working in this type of field and wasn’t directly attributable to the book, although a lot of this work was also utilized.
Did you travel to any places? Undergo any new experiences ie a particular job?
Yes, I joined the military. I’m actually in the US Army Reserves. How could one write about military operations, strategy, and goals, if they’ve never been a part of them? The simple answer is that they can’t. So, in order to gain a better understanding for how these methods could be incorporated at the various levels, and to understand how goals are set and accomplished within a military organization, I became a part of it. This has had the additional benefit of learning to understand how to talk to military personnel. There’s definitely a unique way of communicating and behaving between military members, and learning this has been critical to the writing of these books since military members will be the ones to directly utilize them.
What inspired you to write?
When attempting to share and spread the ideas contained within these books, I found that it was simply easier to write them down than to explain them verbally. Not only do you do you have to continuously repeat yourself when verbally explaining it, but there’s just so much information that it’s easier for people to digest when they can take it at their own pace.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Not at all. I have to carry around something to write with or at least take notes because I’ll just randomly get ideas or suddenly feel inspired to write. I just have to get it down at that point for fear that I’ll forget something, which can come as quite a surprise to others. To suddenly stop in the middle of a conversation, grab some printer paper, and start jotting-down economic models has earned me a bit of a reputation for being the “eccentric genius” type, which is only about half right. It may not help that if nothing is available to write on, I’ll end up using my arms or something else.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
Yes, but it will probably seem odd. I actually do my best thinking while sitting in bed listening to death metal music as loud as humanly possible. I’ve found that the band Children of Bodom is particularly helpful. Simon Pegg’s work (e.g.: Spaced, Shaun of the Dead) has also been quite useful in setting a certain mood or atmosphere conducive to getting things one.
Being a writer can be lonely. Do you have a support network?
I’m a pretty extreme introvert; practically a hermit, but my wife has played a critical role in my career. Not only has she been fantastic for brainstorming discussion, but she has been immensely supportive. This sort of book doesn’t tend to make an author very much money, and there’s always a degree of professional risk involved in pursuing uncertain income, such as through writing. She has been very passionate about my work, though, and has encouraged me to pursue this path. I really owe quite a lot of my success to her.
Who is your targeted audience?
Everyone has a stake in how nations choose to resolve their conflicts, and it is far too frequently those who don’t have any input in that decision which are most greatly impacted. Still, bringing about real change in our world requires wide public support, and so these books are targeted to three primary audiences. First, military and government officials who will be the people to implement and execute these methods. Second, it’s targeted to university students of the social sciences, and include the foundations of these fields to be useful as a course text. Finally, this book is targeted to people who are tired of the constant wars and are ready to finally pursue an effective alternative. These books are scientific/academic in nature, and are written so that they leave no question about their function or credibility as foundational texts upon which modern, cutting-edge research is currently being built. It is for this fact that they are intensely interesting – they will impact all of us in a profound and direct way.
I have written for other audiences, but less successfully. I had a short story published at one point, and tried my hand at a children’s book, but neither were very good. I’ve been slowly working on some social sci-fi concepts similar to Philip K. Dick, but don’t expect anything for quite a while. In addition to the Modern Warfare collection, I’ve also written a few other professional/academic books and will likely stick with this genre for the foreseeable future.
Your book tackles a social barrier. How have you incorporated it?
It’s the underlying goal of these books to tackle one of humanity’s largest social barrier: warfare. We already have within our current capabilities the tools necessary to force opposition combatants into a position where they are unwilling or unable to fight back, or even to prevent them from organizing in the first place. These books detail exactly how this can be accomplished with real examples. The stories contained within this book aren’t theoretical or fictional – they’re historical events which are described in some detail in order to illustrate the methods to overcoming this fundamental barrier to social progress.
Thank you for sharing with us today Michael.
Improving on our body of tactical knowledge, Economics of Modern Warfare is an analysis of the potential for Adam Smith’s proverbial Invisible Hand of the Market to effectively submit enemy combatants while severely reducing the amount of risk and tragedy associated with war. By referring to a handful of battles throughout history, many previously dismissed as tactical anomalies, a new form of military strategy is derived through the manipulation of supplies, capital, and markets. This proof-of-concept book combines economic theory with applied analyses of military successes and failures, explaining them simply for audiences of all levels of interest in military studies, economics, or history.
Psychological operations, whether utilized for military or commercial purposes, can be separated into three primary categories: Idea Modification, Emotional Modification, and Behavioral Modification. In the era of modern psychological operations, methods are developed and executed by strategists, leaving the psychological implications of these strategies nearly completely undeveloped. Yet these three categories – ideas, emotions, and behaviors – define everything we do and everything we are, and when mastered together they provide us with an opportunity to utterly dominate the opposition or competition.
The strategies and tactics found within The Psychology of Modern Warfare are applicable to any field of strategic management, such as business management or political science; any field that requires one to develop strategies in their management of organizations and people can greatly benefit from studying those methods originally developed to be suitable for military application.
The implications of these anomalies hold the potential, when utilized properly, to not only supplement traditional operations, but to take organizations further than ever thought possible.
Would you like to review Economics and Modern Warfare/Psychology and Modern Warfare?
Complete the form below and I will share your details with Michael.