Economic conscription
Economic conscription is a term used to describe mechanisms for recruitment of personnel for the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 through the use of economic conditions. The term is most commonly used to refer to a situation in which certain geographical areas within a country are neglected in terms of their economic development, leading to a situation where a high proportion of young people consider a career within the armed forces as an attractive career choice; the premise is that if these areas enjoyed favourable conditions, this would not be the case, and that governments using this mechanism know this, and choose not to change the situation.

The term is usually used in a pejorative sense. Users of the term claim that the government could create conditions where joining the armed forces would not be seen as an attractive career choice, but choose not to in order to avoid resourcing problems for their armed forces. Governments in countries at which the charge of using this method is levelled counter that they are providing work for people who would otherwise not have any.

Countries which have been described as practising economic conscription include the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. In both cases the armed forces contain sections whose purpose is to recruit new personnel. In the UK, these units often recruit through the use of "careers fairs" in areas of high unemployment. In the US, teams of staff from these units visit poor neighbourhoods, particularly in southern states and other areas with a high African-American population, promoting membership of the armed forces. In both cases, the financial rewards of joining up are used as a central part of the "sales package" — continued use of these tactics in poor areas proves sufficiently successful in attracting a high level of new recruits.

The term was in use as early as 1915.

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