War, what is it good for?

John Quiggin continues to iterate his draft, ‘Economics in Two Lessons’, intended for the general reader. And he invites and engages comments at Crooked Timber.

Here he examines war and its opportunity cost. There is notion that the US has a near reflex predilection for war – in other countries. Of course, an instinctive observation would be the wealth generated by the merchants of death for a select group. And the fait accompli follows the fact that such a group is sufficiently persuasive over critical decision makers.

The opportunity cost of war (slightly updated) An excerpt,

What is true of natural disasters is even more true of the disasters we inflict on ourselves and others. Of these human-made calamities, the greatest is war. The wars engaged in by the US, Australian and other governments come at the opportunity cost of domestic programs that could save thousands of lives every year. The cost of war, in terms of American (and Australian) lives, is many times greater than battlefield casualty counts would suggest.

As many an example from history shows, the power of reason and facts is seldom victorious over the unbridled power of manipulated emotions and the resulting hysterical jingoism unleashed.

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