posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 12:59 PM
Many people scorn economists as soulless animals because when they discuss the "costs of war" they are not talking about human life or environmental
devastation; they are actually talking about the dollars and cents cost of war.
It is important to at times step back into this amoral circle and investigate how war is paid for. The brilliant economist J.K. Galbraith - a
Canadian who was perhaps the most influential economist in WWII America - states that there are three ways to pay for war:
How a government chooses to pay for its war has very real implications that affect great swaths of society. In World War I, the governments of Europe
used Conscription and Borrowing, and we all know the economic devastation wrought by this decision (Great Depression, Rise of Nazism, etc. etc.).
World War II, people thought it out a little bit more, and the bulk of the war was paid for with Taxation (whose corrollary is Rationing). Look at
the economic situation that rose from those ashes.
I realize that I am not exactly presenting an argument (because 'b' follows 'a' doesn't necessarily mean that 'a' caused 'b'), but am only
presenting some 'fast facts'. For a real good analysis written in easy-to-read vernacular, you should check out J.K. Galbraith's "The World
Economy Since the Wars".
Bush Junior's decision to pay for the Iraq war through Borrowing (as opposed to Bush Senior who got the rest of the world to pay for the war, which
was an intelligent decision) will have ramifications. It simply will. What those are we can't exactly tell, but even the best case scenarios do not
bode well. The worst models are downright scary. The Bush Junior administration is playing reactionary economics with the lives of billions of
people (including Americans - very much
including Americans. Cheney's statement that "Deficits don't matter; Reagan proved that" is
indicative of his total disregard (lack of understanding perhaps; I find that hard to believe) of economic principles. Just because deficits are an
intelligent policy at one time and place in history, doesn't mean that it is necessarily - or even likely - an intelligent decision for another
period in history.
Not all economists believe that people should work for money. Money is a human invention which must be made to work for humans. Stupid and
uninformed economic decisions can have serious social consequences.