War as Economic Policy?

I remember sitting in school and passively accepting many false claims without so much as an independent thought coming into my head. School was great at disallowing independent thought. Luckily, I have grown up (somewhat) since then and have started undoing all the damage caused by public schooling.

Many of the absurdities passed off as knowledge in school directly correlate to our current economic predicament, or what has been called “The Great Recession.” Whatever it is called, it is bad. Unemployment is high, and getting higher. Real savings (the bedrock of any thriving economy) are low. In short, the future looks bleak.

There is no shortage of solutions being bandied about in the mainstream. Most, if not all, have to do with increasing government spending. Simply by waving the magic money-making wand, we are told, all of our economic problems will melt away. It’s been tried before. It did not work then, it won’t work now. Regardless of the amount of money printed or taken in taxation, government spending simply diverts money away from real civil society in favor of politically connected entities; banks, military contractors, unions, etc.

The original Great Depression, (they sure don’t make them like they used to; then we had speakeasies brought on by alcohol prohibition, Nazism, communism, rampant suicide, they don’t call them the good ol’ days for nothing!) we are taught in public school, was ended by government spending. The first in the form of fascist (although that isn’t politically correct, so we’ll call it Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal) control of what was once free-enterprise, and the second in the form of World War II. There you have it, mainstream economist’s solutions to any economic downturn, fascism (in its philosophical sense, not necessarily the Nazi death camp sense) and war. And when reality rears its ugly head, as it is doing now with the current economic crisis, what are their solutions you ask? Why more fascism and war of course! The government bailout of banks and takeover of entities like General Motors falls into the first category and, despite the ongoing “nation-building” in Iraq and Afghanistan, some believe just a little more war, say with Iran, is just the ticket out of the economic mess we are in.

Where to begin debunking such dangerous myths…

World War II, they say, ended the Great Depression because everyone was employed for the war effort. With virtually no unemployment, it is said, the economy was roaring once again. While it is true that most everyone had a job, it is untrue that the real economy was repaired at all. The whole point of the economy is to produce things that people actually want and there was nothing being made that consumers valued. Very few citizens were in the market for tanks, bombs and aircraft carriers. Sure, government always desires tanks, bombs and aircraft carriers to carry out their nefarious war policies, but if that was the purpose of an economy we’d all be living in an Orwellian nightmare of a world, where constant mobilization for war was all that was allowed to exist. In reality, the Great Depression did not end until 1946, after the war ended. It wasn’t until the market began satisfying consumer demand again that real jobs, creating real value, came back into existence.

Finally, if war was the answer to our economic problems, then the recession would be over by now. Unbeknownst to many, there are at least two (albeit undeclared) wars going on at this very moment. Where is the economic bonanza from them? It does not, nay cannot, exist. Some estimate the current debacles will eventually cost over $3 trillion! What does a number like that even mean? Nobody knows, but it won’t be pretty to foot that bill. Even if war were a healthy economic phenomenon (which it isn’t), who in their right mind could support such a dastardly endeavor? Sadly, some not only believe such nonsense, but promote it.

All war, except in absolute self-defense, are wars of choice and should be condemned as the most evil of governments policies. They certainly won’t revive the economy and have already contributed a great deal to the current economic state of affairs. They make us poor in every sense of the word, and oh, they may end up killing you as well.

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