SEARCH BLOG: IRAQ and ECONOMICS
Yesterday, I commented that the discussion at Economist's View had gone into a rather strange proposition that we should leave Iraq immediately based on costs. My position was that wars are always political, not economic, and not subject to economic rationale.
One person commented:
i really don't see what you're driving at, but i will say, once again, that we can subject war, like so many aspects of life, to a rational cost-benefit analysis (now we're into economics). In order to do so, we need to be able to sum up the costs and the benefits. exactly what is your problem with trying to understand the cost side of the equation? that it might reveal just how deranged this whole little piece of adventurism is?My "extreme economics" reply was:
For those who continue to insist that " will say, once again, that we can subject war, like so many aspects of life, to a rational cost-benefit analysis (now we're into economics)"... would you then say that if the war could be conducted without the death or injury to any U.S. soldier (from direct fighting... since there will always be non-combat injuries in any endeavor) that it would qualify as a highly successful war... on a cost-benefit basis?
If so, there are several military scenarios that would achieve that. However, I would hasten to speculate that those solutions would be condemned as "barbaric" by the rest of the world. Nevertheless, on a cost-benefit basis (from the soldier perspective) they would be a no cost-infinite benefit solutions.
And, on a time-cost basis, the effort could be conducted in a matter of days with no residual fighting in the area. That is a significant cost savings as well.
Are we getting the picture here? From a cost-benefit basis... relative to soldier deaths/injury/rehabilitation... a long-range nuclear solution is the most economic. The war is conducted by software and hardware... no ground, naval or air troops required.
Very cost-benefit effective. Objective (wipe out any potential enemy) achieved.
Now I'd say the political costs would be extremely high, but as demonstrated from previous posts, this is all about economics, so politics is irrelevant.
So, am I advocating nuclear warfare? Of course not. I am proposing that economics and politics have different ways of dealing with the world and either taken to its extreme is likely to not make a lot of sense. Trying to apply business cost-benefit analysis to warfare is taking economics to its extreme... nonsense.