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Mercenaries and Private Military Companies

  1. Deane-Peter Baker and,
  2. James Pattison

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee172

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Baker and, D.-P. and Pattison, J. 2013. Mercenaries and Private Military Companies. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


The large-scale employment of private contractors in support of the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been hailed by some analysts as one of the most significant changes in the conduct of armed conflict in the contemporary era. It has also led to numerous accusations of mercenarism being directed against these contractors. Despite the strongly negative connotation associated with the mercenary label, surprisingly little focused analysis of the ethics of contracted force has been published.


  • ethics;
  • government, politics, and law;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • capitalism;
  • democracy;
  • foreign policy;
  • national defense;
  • power;
  • risk;
  • state