Somewhat Different Effect in Europe

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Yesterday, on Talk of the Nation with Neil Conan, he was talking about “Economic Instability Threatens European Unity” with Steven Erlanger of the New York Times and Rana Foroohar of Time Magazine. Foroohar made this incredible statement: “In the ’30s and into the ’40s, you have this incredible stimulus called World War II, which actually was what jumpstarted economies and then the reconstruction afterwards.”

But what I heard Conan quickly say afterward was profound (but probably not to readers of LRC):  “Because, you know, as to the American economy, somewhat different effect in Europe.” The first part of his sentence is a little unclear (remember, he was speaking, not writing an article), but the second part is right on. World War II destroyed European economies. War always brings destruction, never increased economic benefit, except to the merchants of death. The complete transcript is here.

By the way, that “incredible stimulus” killed 50 million people. On WWII and the American economy, see anything by Bob Higgs on the subject.

9:37 am on August 17, 2011