Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is war good for economies?

Over at simply Capitalism, blogger RealistTheorist, explores a stupid theory that war is somehow good for economies. This is my take on this topic-

There is one thick line missing in the graph which measures production. It's the line which measures the horror, the tragedy, the misery and the vacuum left in lives of those whose loved ones never returned. This is not the "broken window" hypothesis, its the "broken human" hypothesis.

Every time I see the old grainy footage of cheerful young soldiers waving to the cameras, I feel very sad and also grateful that today a lot what we have achieved would not have been possible without them. It also makes me mad that people can sit and say that hey, all that wanton destruction of life and property was good for us.

There is no choice but to fight certain wars and they ensure our subsequent survival and economic prosperity. The loss of human lives is the greatest loss of all and anybody who says that we prospered, better not say it in front of me.


Realist Theorist said...

Thanks for the comment.

You're right, of course. Yet, the better people who make this argument do not use it to advocate war, but to advocate government spending. Their argument might go something like this:

"When government spend, the economy booms... even in war. Of course, nobody wants the misery of war, so let's get the government to spend on a war-time footing, during peace-time. Let's spend on butter, not guns."

One element of the economic counter-argument is to demonstrate that there was no boom amidst that suffering.

Rajesh said...

I know the point you were trying to make and you did it very well Realist.
My congratulations for the fantastic job you and your friends are doing on simply capatalism. Since I consider myself an Objectivist businessman, I have been reading your blog regularly.