Posts filed under “Economy”
Post Credit Crisis Job Creation Source: Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Last week’s jobs report has returned the U.S. economy back to its peak pre-recession levels of employment. (there is a debate about the quality of jobs being created, but we shall save that conversation for another time). As the Oregon Office of Economic…Read More
Image courtesy of Steve Hess
War Makes Us Poor … And Drags the Economy Down Through the Floor
Preface: Many Americans – including influential economists and talking heads - still wrongly assume that war is good for the economy. For example, extremely influential economists like Paul Krugman and Martin Feldstein promote the myth that war is good for the economy.
Many congressmen assume that cutting pork-barrel military spending would hurt their constituents’ jobs. And talking heads like senior Washington Post political columnist David Broder parrot this idea.
As demonstrated below, it isn’t true.
Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that war is bad for the economy:
Stiglitz wrote in 2003:
War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon. Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy.
Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan also said in that war is bad for the economy. In 1991, Greenspan said that a prolonged conflict in the Middle East would hurt the economy. And he made this point again in 1999:
Societies need to buy as much military insurance as they need, but to spend more than that is to squander money that could go toward improving the productivity of the economy as a whole: with more efficient transportation systems, a better educated citizenry, and so on. This is the point that retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) learned back in 1999 in a House Banking Committee hearing with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Frank asked what factors were producing our then-strong economic performance. On Greenspan’s list: “The freeing up of resources previously employed to produce military products that was brought about by the end of the Cold War.” Are you saying, Frank asked, “that dollar for dollar, military products are there as insurance … and to the extent you could put those dollars into other areas, maybe education and job trainings, maybe into transportation … that is going to have a good economic effect?” Greenspan agreed.
Economist Dean Baker notes:
It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.
Recurring war has drained wealth, disrupted markets, and depressed economic growth.
War generally impedes economic development and undermines prosperity.
And David R. Henderson – associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and previously a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers – writes:
Is military conflict really good for the economy of the country that engages in it? Basic economics answers a resounding “no.”