The Price of War

“Thus, while soldiers have heard that it is stupid to move too fast, it is also unwise to take too long. There has never been a long war that worked to the benefit of a kingdom […]

“Sending forces far away is a heavy expense to the homeland. Meanwhile, a military force nearby will raise prices, and high prices exhaust the wealth of the common people.

“Once impoverished, they are soon forced into service. Their strength drained and livelihood gone, homes are left deserted on the central plains. The cost to the common people will be three-tenths of their worth. For the treasury, the cost for broken wheels and worn-out horses; armour, helmets, arrows and crossbows; lances, shields, spears and tents; oxen and wagons will amount to four-tenths of their worth.”

From Sun Tzu’s Art of War, a new translation by Jonathan Clements.