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A discussion of class and war requires briefly defining the concept of social class. A simple definition would be a group with a shared level of wealth and power, but Marxists usually define it as a group with a “shared relationship to the means of production” (dominant economic institutions and resources). Social theorists, both Marxist and non-Marxist, divide societies into classes in a variety of ways, but invariably there is an elite or ruling class, which owns or control the means of production, and everyone else. In recent popular discourse, they have been called, respectively, the 1% and the 99%.

In virtually all state societies, the ruling class initiates wars but relies upon the subordinate classes to fight them, either through forced conscription, appeals to ...

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