An Essay on R.A. Radgord’s Article The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp

An Essay on R.A. Radgord’s Article The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp

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Category: Economics Essay
Subcategory: International Economics
Words: 1418
Pages: 2

In the article entitled The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp, R.A. Radford describes his experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II. As a prisoner of war, he saw first hand how market structure from the outside had influenced the P.O.W. camp. In the beginning of the camp, prisoners would barter amongst themselves. Then the camps economic system moved towards an Exchange and Mart board, and finally into a market that was comprised of many middlemen. Cigarettes became the main source of currency inside the camp. As a result, paper currency had no value although it was tried inside the camp for a short time, but soon lost out to cigarettes. P.O.W.s were given a certain ration of cigarettes a week. The prisoners could either smoke the cigarettes or use them as currency, but it all was left up to the prisoner as how they used the cigarettes. Plus, cigarettes were used because they could be given value and were available to P.O.W.s. Finally, the cigaret! tes moved easily through the market, so it made them an ideal source of currency. The market prices depended upon the increase and decreases in supply as well as what was happening in the outside world. Even though the prisoners rights and resources were taken away from them, they were still able to establish a market economy inside the camp by using the little resources they did have. A market was formed inside the camp because prisoners had things that they did not want and other people had something they wanted. As a result, if both parties were willing to give up something in order to gain something, a transaction would occur. Each week prisoners were given rations of cigarettes, food, and toiletries. However, many prisoners did not smoke, so they wanted to trade their cigarettes for something else like food. People who did not like jam or chocolate would trade to get something they liked...

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