Friday, August 14, 2009

Solution to recession: more wars?

Today I stumbled upon this post on a blog called Washington's Blog. I can't say I was familiar with the blog before stumbling upon this post. Taking a quick look around, I can already see that I don't 100% agree with all of the author's opinions. Nonetheless, this is a pretty provocative post.

His post tackles a simple question: will the United States government launch more wars around the world in a last-ditch bid to salvage the American economy? He points to statements made by economist Marc Faber, trends forecaster Gerald Celente (who predicted the current recession) and Justin Raimondo in order to try and answer the question.

Of course, such a move would not be without precedent. Various schools of economics will argue that the Great Depression was overcome not by President Franklin Roosevelt's Keynesian spending but rather by the nation's mobilization for World War II. Of course, political pundits have been making comparisons between current President Barack Obama and FDR for quite some time now.

While I'm willing to consider the arguments presented in this blog post, several questions go unanswered in my mind.

How exactly would any war(s) be funded? Our country is arguably in a much worse off position now than it was at the beginning of World War II. Funding a large-scale war seems practically impossible at this point, unless we're arguing that the entire global financial system will be scrapped.

Would a war actually be able to lift the United States out of its recession (or depression, as it may be)? The United States can't create something like World War II (involving the overall majority of the world's population) out of thin air. It can, however, invade a large nation like Pakistan (the 6th most populous country in the world) on its own. What would be the actual economic impact of such a war on the United States? Keep in mind, the defense industry is not what it used to be, it is no longer a mass-employment engine. It seems like such a war might only increase our national debt load without actually reviving the economy. I suppose if our leaders and the national elites are that rapacious, it doesn't really matter.

Finally, one of the posters comments that such a war is unlikely before 2012 because of the pressing need of re-electing President Obama on the part of the Democratic Party. That seems to be true. However, if the economy is completely wrecked by 2011, might not such a war (and the massive boost of patriotism it would inject into the national consciousness) be the perfect remedy for an ailing campaign? Its impossible to tell from our current vantage point and I sincerely hope none of us ever have to find out.

I ask these questions not to knock the blog post and the ideas it presents, but rather because I take such a provocative proposition quite seriously and, considering how bleak our economy currently looks, think we all should.

No comments:

Post a Comment