Litkicks Message Board Archive

War Does Not Stimulate the Economy

Posted to Poetry and Politics

That is the only thing about this essay that I thought was missing. In simple economic terms, war is just a cost-shifting mechanism(the essay discussed this, but wasn't specific about the economic impact). A la the Henry Hazlitt example, if I break your window, it's true that I have just provided business for the glass manufacturer up the street. You will have to pay the glass manufacturer money to replace the window. On the other hand, if I had NOT broken your window, you would have had extra money to spend on other things -- going to dinner, buying a new suit, or whatever. All war does is shift the money out of your pocket and into the pocket of the glass(munitions, army supplies) manufacturer.

If war were actually stimulating to the economy, that would be a reason( however weak) to support it. In reality, war just destroys; it does not produce anything, and it siphons money, labor and materials away from productive concerns to support its existence.

I think this man's idea of conscripting industry before we conscript the men and women who fight is brilliant. Too bad it will never happen. But, if the costs of war were laid out, and major industries were forced to donate large amounts of capital and supplies to the endeavor, we'd never have a war again. As he pointed out, lives are expendable, and so are taxpayer dollars. It all goes to fund the cost-shifting of money into the pants-pockets of the powerful industrialists.

Good article.