Understanding And Preventing Wars
One of the biggest factors leading to war is how economically ignorant the public and intellectual leaders are regarding how awful war really is. War is the absolute worse thing homo sapiens can do. It is pure destruction of life and property and a clear sign that the public and their “leaders” are essentially executing pure tribalism and economic ignorance. Consider the following. In August 10, 1915, British physicist Henry Mosely, who would have probably won the Nobel Prize that year, died in perhaps the most disastrous error mankind has thus far made, The First World War (1914–18). Bright and pious fellow homo sapiens that had absorbed German-French-British-Russian “identities”… students, fathers, engineers, “great minds” and “experts”, who even shared a common European Christian faith, reverted to their tribal ape-like nature, and for God, honor, flag and country, slaughtered each other leading to about 18 million deaths. All for reasons not one out of one million people today know or care to find out. At 7:30 am July 1st, 1916 the ‘Battle of the Somme’ began. On this single day, just the British alone, had about 20,000 fatalities and 35,000 wounded. On that day a British soldier was either killed or wounded on average every second. The “honor” of a military career would lead to disproportionately higher losses for the upper classes for all belligerents. Germany’s top general, Erich Ludendorff would lose two sons, as would future British Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law. Warfare-predation was an important evolutionary strategy and one of the reasons we are social and have evolved big brains to begin with. As Steven Pinker writes:
“… men go to war to get or keep women –not necessarily as a conscious goal of the warriors(though often it is exactly that), but as the ultimate payoff that allowed a willingness to fight to evolve. Access to women is the limiting factor on male’s reproductive success. Having two wives can double a man’s children, having three wives can triple it, and so on. The most common spoils of tribal warfare are women. Raiders kill the men, abduct the nubile women, gang-rape them, and allocate them as wives.” (Steven Pinker’s “How the Mind Works” 1999, p. 510)
Given its importance, war-patriotism easily fills us with a great sense of purpose. England’s prime minister during World War Two and national hero Winston Churchill shows us how inspiring, exciting and purposeful World War One was to him when he mentioned:
“I think a curse should rest on me because I love this war. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment and yet I can’t help it I enjoy every second of it.” (Churchill)
And in another occasion:
“My God! This is living History. Everything we are doing and saying is thrilling… Why I would not be out of this glorious delicious war for anything the world could give me…” (Churchill, per Margot Asquith)
Towards the end of WWII, Russia’s Red Army is estimated to have raped over 2 million German women. Equally human, the Allies-Americans weren’t much better and generally saw the Japanese as an inferior race and cared little for their suffering or views, as US president who needlessly nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Harry S. Truman, mentions in a letter:
“The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast.” (Truman letter to Samuel McCrea Cavert, General Secretary of The Churches of Christ in America)
We shouldn’t be shocked when men murder, rape and torture, the real miracle that has taken thousands of years of cultural-legal evolution to create, are the modern cultural values-laws-ideologies-software we absorb that program homo sapiens into respecting the body-property-thoughts of all human beings regardless of age, sex, beliefs, and race. Being the social slightly smarter apes that we are, fellow humans are our biggest assets which helps explain the evolution of altruism-compassion, as well as our biggest competitors which helps us understand our horrendous violence towards fellow men.
A simple economic concept which can be easily explained in one paragraph is all we need to understand why most military spending, and even more so actual war, is so horrendous. Every living order, whether it’d be a single cell, or a collection of them like a human being, or a collection of humans like a company, is in a constant cycle of production and consumption. A surgeon produces wealth in terms of surgeries which he exchanges for money which he then exchanges for the wealth he consumes in terms of housing, energy, food, etc. Production increases the world’s economic pie of wealth and order, while consumption reduces it. If the government taxes people and uses the money to hire 100 laborers to work on digging holes and then refill them, the laborers have not produced or increased the economic pie by anything of value, yet they trade their wages for, and then consumed, cars, energy, food, etc. (civilian goods that lead to life-enjoyment) leading to an obvious net shrinking of the economic pie to the great detriment of the taxpayers who were deprived of their wealth. It is vitally important to realize that just because people are working and buying or consuming wealth does NOT mean that their actions are leading to socioeconomic growth. As this last hole-digging example shows, it could lead to a shrinking of the economic pie. Economic activity must be coordinated in a way that leads to more production than consumption. Easy and obvious right? As unbelievable as this might sound, if you truly understand this, you already have a far superior understanding of economics than the USA’s mainstream economics establishment.
Every year, over one trillion dollars worth of civilian wealth in terms of homes, cars, energy, medicines, etc., (an amount similar to the entire productive output of Mexico which has the world’s 15th largest economy at $1.04 trillion GDP), is consumed from the economic pie by the millions of people employed by the national security bureaucracy and its associated contractors as they produce push-ups, military drills and weapons of destruction. In other words, there is a MASSIVE consumption of real useful wealth and an increase of push-ups, military drills-patrols, weapons of destruction which in no way directly improve the lives of Americans. It is as if Americans were forced to trade the extra restaurant meals, leisure time, medical care, tennis lessons, etc. they worked so hard to afford, for watching people do push-ups, fly jets, build nukes. Should the USA be invaded, the production of the aforementioned would have been well worth the trillion dollars worth of wealth consumed, but since there is virtually 0 chance of anyone attempting this and not being completely bankrupted by the attempt, the push-ups, drills and weapons are worthless. It is like boarding up and evacuating Florida every year when summer comes because of fear of a potential hurricane you can easily detect weeks in advanced and properly prepare for. It is a complete waste of wealth.
The economic damage by America’s trillion dollar military is simply astounding. In 2015, the world’s ten biggest corporations as measured by the amount of research and development spending they undertook, companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Volkswagen and six others, consumed about 109 billion dollars as they sustained some of the brightest and most productive people in the world whose innovations are truly transforming the world right before our eyes. The National Security bureaucracy consumes that much wealth in less than 1.5 months. For every dollar that sustains the wonderful research and innovations they create, nine dollars worth of wealth are consumed and used to sustain people whose jobs ultimately add very little value to society. Perhaps even more startling is the fact that for the year 2012 the entire planet’s top 2,000 R&D-spending companies spent about 700 billion in R&D which is still 300 billion less than what our National Security spending was at the time. It might very well be the case that the USA’s National Security related yearly consumption of wealth is similar to that which is consumed in corporate research and development by the entire planet, which is not only a gigantic detriment to the taxpayers who have to forego the enjoyment of a trillion dollars worth of wealth which is then used to sustain all the people associated with the bureaucracy, it also greatly slows down mankind’s technological progress.
If our military wasn’t so needlessly huge, the people currently employed by it doing drills, moving military hardware around, would be employed in the private sector adding wealth to it instead of being enormous drains on society. Every hundred thousand dollar missile or bomb we fire to destroy some building and inadvertently kill civilians, also destroys a hundred thousand dollar home over here which was never allowed to come into existence because the food-clothes-medicine needed to sustain the people building it had to be diverted to sustaining the people involved in the manufacturing of the missile-bombs. Every dollar we spend above that which is truly needed to protect ourselves is a dollar we spend destroying ourselves and our future.
If military spending and consumption actually led to economic growth, the always-backward-and-poor former Soviet Union and today’s North Korea, with their relatively large militarizes would be prosperous, yet simple economic logic easily helps explain why they were not so. If military spending-consumption is obviously bad for the economy, then all-out war is even more so. How can having even more people stop producing civilian and useful goods (homes, cars, energy, medicines, etc.) and thus reduce the economic pie, to increase the amount of weapons which are then used to destroy lives and infrastructure and wealth possibly be good??!! Although understandably difficult to believe, prominent economists like 2008 Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman lack a basic understanding of the cycle of production and consumption and thus foolishly believe that war and military spending, even in the absurd case when it is not done to actually prevent an invasion, is actually good for the economy. While giving advice on how to improve the slumping economy he mentioned:
“Think about WWII…it brought us out[of the great depression]. If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat…this slump would be over in 18 months,”
Krugman, believing that all we need for prosperity is some “stimulus” or incentive to “create jobs” and “economic activity” via buying and selling, completely overlooks the vital fact that whatever “activity” takes place in the economy must be coordinated in a way that produces more real-civilian wealth than it consumes, otherwise you are just obviously reducing the economic pie, and military spending and even more so war is the most destructive thing one can do. Below is Krugman in perhaps the most economically ignorant and disastrous TV segment ever where he mentions the above and more.
Krugman’s statement is the perfect example of what Mises once told students:
“Don’t be afraid to speak up. Remember, whatever you say about the subject and however wrong it might be, the same thing has already been said by some eminent economist.”
It is truly scary to realize there are such dangerously misguided people in the government probably imagining a war with Russia might be good for the economy. Obviously a basic understanding of economics is the key to realizing just how disastrous our military-related expenditures are, and this is precisely what Osama bin laden had, which made him undoubtedly one of the greatest military leaders ever. Perhaps no military leader has managed to inflict so much damage on his opponent given the relatively scarce means he had. Osama bin Laden studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University and his understanding of economics became his main weapon. He tells us his strategy:
“We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat,”
“We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah,”
“All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations,”
“Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs,”
“As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.”
“And it all shows that the real loser is you,”…“It is the American people and their economy.” — CNN
What an embarrassment to what remains of freedom and Capitalism in our nation. Some guy in a cave thousands of miles away that has been dead for many years has managed to let American tribalism and economic ignorance destroy us from within. Not only is our economy being destroyed but so are our freedoms as this kind of criticism becomes treasonous. Amazing how history repeats itself. Actually, it is not really history that repeats itself:
“It is human nature that repeats itself, not history.” — John Toland
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th US President
When a person is conscripted by a military he is made a slave to the economic ignorance and tribalism of his fellow citizens. When he willingly joins the military he is surrendering his freedom and sense of morality to what some clueless ideologues like Biden or Trump want to do, and ignorantly abandoning the careful study of how ignorance and misunderstandings lead to the myth that large groups of fellow homo sapiens must slaughter each other.
Young men go off to wars, with their minds polluted by the same patriotic myths which justify their killing and destruction. But eventually the myths meet reality, that they are just killing fellow homo sapiens and the property people traded a part of their lives to build. Our tribal nature overcomes what morality tamed because we are all equally human, no different than the Russian homo sapiens who raped the German women no matter how much we may try to fool our selves with the myth that “we” are good and they are “evil”.
All wars, physical threats, and acts of coercion are ultimately rooted in economic ignorance and homo sapiens’ inherent tribalistic adversarial nature and must be understood as such. There is no need for humans to coerce and much less slaughter each other in what should be a battlefield or competition of ideas which emerges from freedom.
The current war between Russia and Ukraine is as idiotic and tribalistic as World War One was, but this time homo sapiens has nukes and will use them again. Although Putin’s invasion was a massive and negligent blunder, Zelenskyy’s tribalistic and naïve “good vs. evil” mindset, as easily seen when he mentioned that: “You can mediate between countries, but not between good and evil.” , will only lead to the end of civilization.