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on war as an inflationary pressure [Nov. 20th, 2007|10:10 am]

Doing some reading on stagflation, since all apparent signs are that we could be heading into another period of it. I came across the above article, and it clicked something in my brain.

It had never dawned on me that war might be an inflationary pressure on the economy. One of the things I heard growing up was that "war was good for the economy", something that the inner pacifist had a hard time accepting at face value. There's a certain fiscal stimulus applied when the government borrows oh, about a trillion dollars to conduct a massive "war" against any foe, be it terrorism, poverty, or another soverign nation, and then spends that money stimulating growth in the "military-industrial" complex.

Worse, what if 2001=1961, and Bush is some kind of evil Kennedy/Johnson hybrid?

[User Picture]From: hbergeronx
2007-11-20 07:19 pm (UTC)
I agree that war is economically devastating: it borrows from the future to destroy value today. War has never (as far as I've seen) been conducted with savings, it's always been conducted with debt. It's a thirty year loan to play with firecrackers, only worse.

There are times in the past where I've hedged, and told myself that "these people are experts and know better, and when they say we need war, I should trust them" or have been blinded by recent events (9-11 was hard to come to terms with rationally at the time)

I feel immense guilt and shame for ever having considered the "war on terror" possibly the right thing to do. Perhaps it's because I'm a little younger than you, I have absolutely no memory of Vietnam or Nixon, and rely largely on what other people tell me, often to my discredit.
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[User Picture]From: twoeleven
2007-11-20 09:17 pm (UTC)
I feel immense guilt and shame for ever having considered the "war on terror" possibly the right thing to do.
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[User Picture]From: hbergeronx
2007-11-20 10:27 pm (UTC)
Initially I was very suspicious of everything that was going on. I detested the sudden need to put a flag on everything, despite my own conservativism and patriotism, I didn't like seeing it dilute to the point where it had no meaning.

But something happened, and I feel like I let my opinions get salami-sliced away. It broke my head to be walking around london and see "I (planed) NY" t-shirts, even if I felt a certain intellectual understanding for why someone would wear that so soon after, and before things started getting really stupid. At the time, I could feel it turning into an us vs them kind of think, and the "us" seemed at least semi-rational and the "them" seemed so bonkers, that I kind of just slid into passivity. I took my tax rebates, and ran with it.

Going after the Taliban, well, that seemed sensible at the time but in retrospect I don't think that was the right choice. Reading Soros was an eye opener, in some ways- that the urge to intervene itself is tempting but dangerous, and that the idea of a "policeman" is somewhat mythical even as it seems necessary, in a Kantian sense.

Toward the end, there, I found myself saying things like "Bush really can't be that stupid". It's not that I now think that he was stupid- I think the characterization is unhelpful toward actually driving at a root-cause analysis. It's that I always felt somehow that there must be some hidden knowledge that the powers that be might have that makes it make more sense, but now feel that buying into what is essentially a gnostic argument is a terrible error in any form.
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