Perpetual War for Perpetual Employment?
by Anthony Wile
The Daily Bell
by Anthony Wile: Will
the Market Do What Western Leaders Cannot?
Here at the
Daily Bell, we remain convinced that America's serial wars
have continually deepened that great country's economic crisis.
And this gives rise to a peculiar dilemma that we don't usually
point out, but which will be the purpose of this article. It may
even explain the reluctance of the US to leave Afghanistan and to
generally disengage from overseas violence.
This is the
issue: "How can the US cease its warring when so many people
in that beleaguered country depend on conflict for their employment?"
The US unemployment
or under-employment rate (the real one) is somewhere between 25
and 30 percent. To reduce or eliminate garrisons in both Iraq and
Afghanistan would inject hundreds of thousands of additional individuals
into an economy that is struggling to provide employment to available
workers. (Not to mention the private-sector "defense"
jobs that would be made redundant.) And assuming that the additional
workers find jobs; wouldn't they be at substantially lower salaries
than their existing military compensations?
The Daily Bell is aware of "the broken window"
fallacy regarding the profitability of war; and this has been a
subject of discussion previously. In the long term, war creates
nothing but misery and debt. But in the short-term it is indisputable
that it can provide a temporary economic stimulus as well
as a diversion especially if the country controls the world's
reserve currency. See
additional comments in feedback thread.)
It is certainly
easier to get into a war than to get out of one. Of course, here
I am referring to the visible wars only, those which comprise millions
of Americans who are earning wages that would otherwise not exist
and for whom many would find their current skills not in great demand
on the surface that the US could not afford this influx of unemployed
and any reigning political body would be committing domestic economic
suicide should they chose to truly adopt a non-aggressive foreign
policy and return America to protecting its own shores rather than
spreading "democracy" all over the world. And here clearly
we at the Bell believe that is ALL the US military should be doing.
And we also believe that would require a personnel effort of much
smaller numbers than taxpayers are currently supporting.
Were the US
to suffer such an influx of unemployed as a result of adopting a
sensible foreign policy rather than acting as the policemen for
global morality, it is likely that trade unions and other leftist
organizations would demand the existing wages of the military workers
be maintained at current levels. Of course Congress would attempt
to pass wage support legislation to ensure that standards of living
didn't suffer in the new careers sought but to what overall detriment
to the value of the dollar?
line is that the US economy cannot handle a peaceful withdrawal
from active combat without causing even further unemployment, not
just to those on the front lines but to all the industries who comprise
the vertical support network which keeps the whole clock ticking.
And for politicos intent on battling an already raging domestic
unemployment crises, caused primarily by the country's out-of-control
Federal Reserve, it is ironic that the current and future administrations
of the US have no way out of this mess.
If the US doesn't
stop the spending insanity of supporting multiple war fronts, the
monetary base will continue to expand and the dollar's value will
continue to plunge toward its true nominal worth which is
surely zero, the inevitable graveyard for all fiat currencies. But
should America's leaders decide to withdraw, unemployment will surely
deepen, perhaps considerably, and the economy will tumble deeper
into depression, causing the Fed to inflate even faster thus
sending the dollar to its fiat funeral, anyway.
It is a sad
testament that there appears to be no way out: The US dollar and
the US economy are in for further suffering whether the wars continue
or not. Millions of lives will continue to be disrupted and many
more will die to support the borders of empire and the value of
an already dead currency.
fathers knew that war was a terrible venture and one that should
only be entered into with utmost's seriousness, in order to defend
the very existence of the country itself. By constantly pursuing
wars and allowing Congress to abrogate its duty as the final arbitrator,
the American powers-that-be have placed the country in a perilous
If troops return
home, the already weakened economy will suffer further; if the fighting
continues, the economy will suffer as well and most seriously
(in part because the US military industrial complex doesn't wish
for a reversion to a peacetime economy). Wars are a last resort,
and not to be entered into lightly. Leaving aside the moral issues
and the terrible loss of life, and looked at from a purely economic
perspective (as the elite apparently tends to do) there are no easy
answers and plenty of painful days ahead for those unprepared.
with permission from The
Wile is an author, columnist and entrepreneur focused on developing
projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking
concepts. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Swiss-based publishing
firm Appenzeller Business Press AG (ARBP). He is a senior editor
of ARBP's flagship news site, TheDailyBell.com.
In 2010, ARBP founded and appointed Mr. Wile as the Executive Director
of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking –
a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book,
Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several
languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The
Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).
© 2011 The