Tuesday, July 29, 2014

War is never good for prosperity

The following was intended to be a letter to the New York Times, but I came across the article in question too late to send my response to them.
I am typically a fan of Tyler Cowen’s work, so I was disappointed to read his piece, "The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth." (June 13, 2014) 
In an era without the existential threat of total war, it’s true that powerful economic interests can take precedence over “the national interest” driving government decision making. The politically connected are invested in the economic status quo that produced their success and privileged status. The policies that they favour will be geared toward slowing changes that could endanger their relative positions if they cannot stop them completely. Rapid economic growth has never happened without changing that status quo.

War is not the only – and should not be anyone’s – preferred strategy for countering the powerful economic interests that push policies that slow growth. We need not choose between peace and prosperity, but we must choose between prosperity and planned predictability.


Anonymous said...

There is NEVER any reason to engage in war. History has shown that innocent civilians are always the majority of casualties, especially in the most recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the civilians who must suffer and be murdered by soldiers who are fighting for some imperial cause. Such is also the case in Gaza where Israelis are murdering children in the name of their imperial Zionistic ideology. The people of Gaza have been segregated from the world and treated as subhuman Israel. This is not a war it is murder and the Harper government is just as guilty as Israel for the murder of babies and children.

Janet Neilson said...

While the post is on the NYT article linked and refers to major wars rather than the wars that are happening today, I'll briefly say that while I'm no fan of Harper and oppose all military aid, I think the blame for what's happening in Israel and Gaza lays primarily at the feet of Hamas and the Israeli government. A failure to condemn civilian deaths is not the same as causing them.
I think Predrag does a good job of summing up my feelings:

War is a choice. Peace is an option. And Cowen is wrong to suggest that it's an expensive one.