The Cost of War

It is almost impossible to determine the true cost of a war. While in a democracy, it is often possible to quantify dollars spent on wars based on the (relative) tranparency of spending legislation as well as defense department and national government budgets, there are many costs that are impossible to measure.

In addition to the loss of life and the costs of injuries sustained by combatants, there are national reputational issues and long-term strategic impacts resulting from any military action. In addition, at least according to Gregg Easterbrook, unemployment is another (at least what we would say is a difficult to measure) cost of war. In particular, he discusses the idea that the current wars being fought by the United States, and their monetary costs, have created such a drag on the economy that job growth has been impacted.

As is often the case with Mr. Easterbrook's thought-provoking pieces for Reuters, reaction to the article is mixed. Supporters of and detractors from this theory alike as well as those who try to arrive at conclusions about stimulus packages based on extended logic all acquit themselves well in the comments section. Those interested in checking out the article can find it here.

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