If we want to live in peace, we have to allow some people to fail. We can’t try to raise the job rate, by furnishing professions that profit off of violence.
In 2011 US arm sales to overseas was a $66 Billion business. Russia was second with $5 Billion. Our Military Sales are a little under Europe and Asia’s sales Combined (We own about 40% of the market, where Europe, Middle east, and Asia Own 53% combined). Who is purchasing these weapons? Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, India, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, and many other countries, some of whom we consider to be directly violating our Philosophies of Democracy and Freedom. The Arms portion of our GDP has consistently stayed above 4.5% since 2009. This appears far below the 1940’s when the Arms portion of the GDP was up to 40%, but looking at the real GDP of 1940 (inflation adjusted) its hard to make any such claim. When in the 40’s (at it’s highest) their GDP was 2 trillion dollars, which made their Arms manufacturing around $800 Billion, they only had around 130 million citizens. Today we have $607.5 Billion of our $13.5 Trillion dollar GDP, with 330 million citizens coming from arm manufacture (which means we are pumping $540 billion into our own military might). Far fewer people within our economy are profiting off of this portion of Wealth which has only dropped 24% when compared to a time when the whole world was at War and far more of the population had a stake in the Arms business.
Can we even justify this business, when so little people are benefiting off of it? Even if we could justify by way of profits what are the ramifications of legitimizing the sale of weapons that are used to murder innocent civilians? Since the start of the 21st century, not including the “War on Terror,” there have been a half million casualties from various conflicts around the globe. US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost the lives of over 10,000 American citizens (soldiers and private contractors). Roughly 180,000 deaths in Iraq can be attributed to US-involvement, and while all of these numbers are significantly smaller than the staggering 50 million deaths caused from World War 2, there is no need to adjust these numbers for inflation, because each life equates to the same non-negotiable value.
Liberal economist like to espouse Ideas like “war is good for the economy,” which on brass tacks could be considered true. But if we use some sort of strange Hedonistic calculus that doesn’t differentiate human life from human capital, there is really no such difference between Human Value and Economic Value. I see strange bedfellows for those that claim to be Modern-American Liberals, while having a rhetoric of Peace and Prosperity, they also do not seem to care if Prosperity is brought about without Peace.
My suggestion for a peaceful society is simple: Stop spending money on wars and allow those in the business of war to lose.
But those that are Economically authoritarian should know that this will cause individuals to lose their jobs; it will cause the GDP to drop by 4 % over a years time; it will, on the surface, look like an economic recession. Rightly, these are all correct. Our economy will shrink by 4% and $66 billion in overseas sales will cease to exist. No Economic Liberal would support a cut like this, would they? I guess that is where a split within their movement arises. Those that tout party over principle will always side with their talking heads, but those that wish to fulfill a philosophical principle of equality and fairness, must make a tough choice. Can they support economic intervention, when it comes into conflict with their view on foreign intervention? Peace is certainly a noble cause and those that are willing to seek it at any cost should be willing to admit when the fastest route to it involves social cuts. War, because it being a product of government that is perpetual, due to the government holding a constant monopoly over it, is a form of corporate welfare. It seems that the only consistent “Liberal” view is that of the Libertarian (or the classically Liberal).
Any government function which can manipulate the effects of free and popular trade within a Free market will look different, if not opposite, of the model in a truly Free Market. That is to say, if the government manipulates and inflates money in order to cover the cost of a certain product (E.g. War), then it is likely that in a truly Free Market (one void of government manipulation) this product or craft would not thrive (this is a law of opposites). War, then, is only perpetuated due to government manipulation of the Market. So, how can those that are thoroughly against monopolies be so thoroughly for the monopoly that the governments of the world have on Arms? Of course it is mostly a private industry (Halliburton and the like), it only stays in business because of a government-held monopoly. Could it still thrive under a free-market? Absolutely, but the fact is, the largest corporations on the planet (governments) only have the finances to purchase such arms through it’s ability to print and invent money. No single individual or group of individuals in a Free Market could get away with this; there are no snake-oil salesmen who can survive without the gullibility of those that feed and clothe them. Social Darwinism is often looked at as a selfish and immoral idea, that it is within those conditions that the people truly suffer, but I have to disagree when it comes to the violent professions that survive due to the state. In times past it would be considered Fascism to support the growth and development of any given trade by way of government purchasing, so why are the Modern-American Liberals so supportive of this now?
It is the libertarians, those that reject safety nets, that wish to come to Peace in the quickest way possible, but their view is often misinterpreted. Yes, there are some social safeties which can feed towards a betterment of society (such as some forms of food stamps for the lowest class), but when the Economic Left speaks for all forms of Liberal, there is no coherent doctrine except “Intervene and Intervene some more!” Intervention, whether in the social realm or the economic realm, always bleeds into one another. If we intervene into social issues, we will inevitably affect the market. If we intervene in the markets, social structures change. When we create a system that is solely based on voluntary action, there can still be Social Safeties, but it is impossible for there to be war apart from popular support of war. However, when there is an allowance of involuntary force by the few, war (even if a majority of people reject it), can still survive.
So, for the Modern-American Liberal, if one wishes to continue being logically consistent with the rhetoric of fairness, equality, and freedom; they must stop shouting “Intervene! Intervene!” because it stands in direct opposition to those ideas. For a Bleeding-Heart Libertarian like myself, I’ll stick with the timeless chant of “Can’t we all just be left alone?!”