Economic warfare, or economic war, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as involving "an economic strategy based on the use of measures (e.g. blockade) of which the primary effect is to weaken the economy of another state".
This article needs attention from an expert in economics or Military history. The specific problem is: The explanation of economic warfare is very short and may be better if an expert could better define it. In addition, an expert is needed to expand the history of economic warfare, to provide more examples and to elaborate on the ones that are already given.. (May 2020)
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with Western culture and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2019)
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In military operations, economic warfare may reflect economic policy followed as a part of open or covert operations, cyber operations, information operations during or preceding a war. Economic warfare aims to capture or otherwise to control the supply of critical economic resources so friendly military and intelligence agencies can use them and enemy forces cannot.
The concept of economic warfare is most applicable to conflict between nation states, especially in times of total war, which involves not only the armed forces of an enemy nation, but also a mobilized war economy. In such a situation, damage to the enemy's economy is damage to its ability to fight a war. Scorched earth policies have often been applied to deny resources to an enemy.
Policies and measures in economic warfare may include blockade, blacklisting, preclusive purchasing, rewards and the capturing or the control of enemy assets or supply lines. Other policies, such tariff discrimination, sanctions, the suspension of aid, the freezing of capital assets, the prohibition of investment and other capital flows, and expropriation, even if without war, may be referred to as economic warfare.