T Nation

Do We Make Money from War?

We have tremendous debts and deficits, and I have to wonder where in heck all this money goes? I don’t mean spending for consumption but the hundreds and hundreds of billions that seems to appear and disappear.

"Antony Cyril Sutton (February 14, 1925 - June 17, 2002) was a British-born economist, historian, and writer. He was a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1968 to 1973. He was a former economics professor at California State University Los Angeles. He was educated at the universities of London, Goettingen and California with a D.Sc. degree from University of Southampton, England.

“In 1968, Sutton wrote Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, which was first published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Sutton alleged that the Soviet Union’s technological and manufacturing base – which was then engaged in supplying the Viet Cong – was built by United States corporations and largely funded by US taxpayers. Steel and iron plants, the GAZ automobile factory, and many other Soviet industrial enterprises were, according to Sutton, built with the help or technical assistance of the United States or U.S. corporations.”

Now that the Cold War is over, could our Uber-Capitalists be up to their old tricks?

In the long run – No! Destruction is not profit.

If we get taxed to build bombs so that a few may profit and then taxed again so that a few may profit to clean up the inevitable mess then it is a net loss to society. In the end we have lost the things that could have been created with those tax dollars just so we could end up with what was already there to begin with – business and infrastructure, etc.

This is the fallacy of the broken window carried to its logical conclusion:

[i] Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact, that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation–“It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier's trade--that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs--I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen."

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.[/i]

Define ‘we’ for me,please?

[quote]Neuromancer wrote:
Define ‘we’ for me,please?[/quote]

he meant it in the editorial sense

War is a drain on society. Unfortunately when you have brutal dictators with a history of invading other countries to steal oil and have people fly airplanes into buildings it is better to fight than surrender or die.

Did somebody advocate surrender?

Some make money from war.

What’s the point of asking this question?

[quote]ovalpline wrote:
Some make money from war.

What’s the point of asking this question?[/quote]

Someone always makes money on a war. You and me, no. We help pay for it.

If you are in the know, you would make a bundle in a war. Just think of Cheney knows when to sell that Halliburton stock.