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    War and Inflation

    This is from an older article, but the economic principles discussed haven't changed.

    War Causes Inflation …


    And Inflation Allows The Government to Start Unnecessary Wars - 3 January 2011


    "All wars are inflationary. Period. No exceptions.

    Why? Simple, really. Any time the government engages in deficit spending, it creates the conditions for inflation. However when the deficit spending is on legitimate infrastructure, such as roads or bridges, that investment will slowly “pay for itself” by boosting productivity and paving the way for the creation of additional goods and services that will ‘soak up’ the extra cash over time.

    Wars, however, are special. Vast quantities of money are spent on things that are meant to be blown up. The money stays at home, while the goods get sent off to be blown up. When a bomb blows up, there is no residual benefit to the domestic economy later on. This means war spending is the most inflationary of all spending. It’s a double whammy – the money stays behind, working its evil magic, while the goods disappear. Heck, even if the goods aren’t blown up, there’s practically zero residual economic benefit to such specialized hardware, as amazing as that technology may be.

    For some reason, the most recent pair of wars have been presented by the US mainstream press as being relatively “pain-free” for the average citizen, despite overwhelming historical odds to the contrary.

    In fact, on this 15-year-long chart of commodity prices, we observe that prices bounced in a channel, marked by the green lines, for more than 10 years. However, and now hopefully unsurprisingly, shortly after the start of the Iraq War commodity prices began marching higher and have inflated nearly 140% in the five years since. Your gasoline and food bills will confirm this.

    (Note: chart no longer available)



    So if anybody tries to tell you that you haven’t sacrificed for the war, let them know you sacrificed a large portion of your savings and your paycheck to the effort, thank you very much.


    The bottom line is that war always causes inflation, at least when it is funded through money-printing instead of a pay-as-you-go system of taxes and/or bonds. It might be great for a handful of defense contractors, but war is bad for Main Street, stealing wealth from people by making their dollars worth less.

    And contrary to what many pundits say, war will not lead to an economic recovery.

    And as discussed above, liberals such as James Galbraith and conservatives such as Ron Paul agree that we wouldn’t get into as many wars – and the wars which we did wage would be ended more quickly – it if the people were required to pay for them directly instead of war being paid out of the “hidden tax” of inflation."

    War Causes Inflation ... - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

    To put this in context, how many of you would support US involvement in the war in Ukraine if you had to personally finance your share of the cost of supporting the conflict from savings, or put it on your Visa Card, sell personal assets to pay the bill or have the equivalent of a judgment against you to pay for it out of future earnings? How many wars/conflicts do you think the US would have entered if Congress had to ask the people to fund them? Most people are oblivious to the cost of war and how it's really funded.
    In quoting my post, you affirm and agree that you have not been goaded, provoked, emotionally manipulated or otherwise coerced into responding.



    "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
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    86% of all federal spending is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicate. ROI: 1:-.067.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    86% of all federal spending is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicate. ROI: 1:-.067.
    Much of the cost of war doesn't show up on any ledger because it's reflected in the cost of inflation, so there is no accounting or accountability for those indirect hidden taxes.
    In quoting my post, you affirm and agree that you have not been goaded, provoked, emotionally manipulated or otherwise coerced into responding.



    "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    Much of the cost of war doesn't show up on any ledger because it's reflected in the cost of inflation, so there is no accounting or accountability for those indirect hidden taxes.
    According to a left-wing Canadian think tank, lol. Besides, we're not at war.
    Never Again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    Much of the cost of war doesn't show up on any ledger because it's reflected in the cost of inflation, so there is no accounting or accountability for those indirect hidden taxes.
    Government spending is the main driver of inflation. 86% of government spending is far more than what we spend on war.
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    I seem to remember that despite all the worst efforts of FDR it was WWII that got us out of the Great Depression.
    Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ― Gustav Mahler

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    War destroys wealth.

    War destroys real property.

    War places the military in greater competition for resources with the civilian economy.

    War destroys life.

    War breaks bodies, often irreversibly.

    War defers it’s cost, through debt, upon future generations.

    War is destructive. Period.

    It is also inflationary.
    "Buy a man eat fish, the day, teach a man to a life time! "
    "As one computer said, if
    you're on the train and they say 'PORTAL BRIDGE' you know you better make other plans."
    - Joseph Robinette Biden -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    Government spending is the main driver of inflation. 86% of government spending is far more than what we spend on war.
    What is directly spent on war isn't the issue, it's every additional penny you are spending on the cost of goods and services that inflate because of war. When the cost of fuel for your car or to heat your home goes up by 20 to 30 percent and the cost of all other goods also rise by various percentages, at the end of the tax year, you may have paid out up to 10% of your income in inflationary costs, depending on the size of your income and how you earn it. The longer the war lasts, the worse the inflationary effects become. It's not government spending that is responsible for the rising fuel costs (prices are set on the world market), it's the drop in supply, but higher fuel costs affect manufacturing and so drive up the prices of consumer goods and food. This is known as cost-push inflation. It may or may not be followed by increased government spending to try to mitigate the economic impact on those who are hardest hit by rising prices, which adds to the other kind of inflation.
    The Reasons Why A War In Ukraine Will Make Inflation Worse (forbes.com)
    The Fed - The Effect of the War in Ukraine on Global Activity and Inflation (federalreserve.gov)

    This one is more about the connection between central planning, the Fed and war: War and Inflation | Mises Institute
    In quoting my post, you affirm and agree that you have not been goaded, provoked, emotionally manipulated or otherwise coerced into responding.



    "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    What is directly spent on war isn't the issue, it's every additional penny you are spending on the cost of goods and services that inflate because of war. When the cost of fuel for your car or to heat your home goes up by 20 to 30 percent and the cost of all other goods also rise by various percentages, at the end of the tax year, you may have paid out up to 10% of your income in inflationary costs, depending on the size of your income and how you earn it. The longer the war lasts, the worse the inflationary effects become. It's not government spending that is responsible for the rising fuel costs (prices are set on the world market), it's the drop in supply, but higher fuel costs affect manufacturing and so drive up the prices of consumer goods and food. This is known as cost-push inflation. It may or may not be followed by increased government spending to try to mitigate the economic impact on those who are hardest hit by rising prices, which adds to the other kind of inflation.
    The Reasons Why A War In Ukraine Will Make Inflation Worse (forbes.com)
    The Fed - The Effect of the War in Ukraine on Global Activity and Inflation (federalreserve.gov)

    This one is more about the connection between central planning, the Fed and war: War and Inflation | Mises Institute
    I suppose when the money dries up our spending on social security, Medicare, and Medicaid will control itself. Massive cuts. Or end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Who View Post
    This is from an older article, but the economic principles discussed haven't changed.

    War Causes Inflation …


    And Inflation Allows The Government to Start Unnecessary Wars - 3 January 2011


    "All wars are inflationary. Period. No exceptions.

    Why? Simple, really. Any time the government engages in deficit spending, it creates the conditions for inflation. However when the deficit spending is on legitimate infrastructure, such as roads or bridges, that investment will slowly “pay for itself” by boosting productivity and paving the way for the creation of additional goods and services that will ‘soak up’ the extra cash over time.

    Wars, however, are special. Vast quantities of money are spent on things that are meant to be blown up. The money stays at home, while the goods get sent off to be blown up. When a bomb blows up, there is no residual benefit to the domestic economy later on. This means war spending is the most inflationary of all spending. It’s a double whammy – the money stays behind, working its evil magic, while the goods disappear. Heck, even if the goods aren’t blown up, there’s practically zero residual economic benefit to such specialized hardware, as amazing as that technology may be.

    For some reason, the most recent pair of wars have been presented by the US mainstream press as being relatively “pain-free” for the average citizen, despite overwhelming historical odds to the contrary.

    In fact, on this 15-year-long chart of commodity prices, we observe that prices bounced in a channel, marked by the green lines, for more than 10 years. However, and now hopefully unsurprisingly, shortly after the start of the Iraq War commodity prices began marching higher and have inflated nearly 140% in the five years since. Your gasoline and food bills will confirm this.

    (Note: chart no longer available)



    So if anybody tries to tell you that you haven’t sacrificed for the war, let them know you sacrificed a large portion of your savings and your paycheck to the effort, thank you very much.


    The bottom line is that war always causes inflation, at least when it is funded through money-printing instead of a pay-as-you-go system of taxes and/or bonds. It might be great for a handful of defense contractors, but war is bad for Main Street, stealing wealth from people by making their dollars worth less.

    And contrary to what many pundits say, war will not lead to an economic recovery.

    And as discussed above, liberals such as James Galbraith and conservatives such as Ron Paul agree that we wouldn’t get into as many wars – and the wars which we did wage would be ended more quickly – it if the people were required to pay for them directly instead of war being paid out of the “hidden tax” of inflation."

    War Causes Inflation ... - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

    To put this in context, how many of you would support US involvement in the war in Ukraine if you had to personally finance your share of the cost of supporting the conflict from savings, or put it on your Visa Card, sell personal assets to pay the bill or have the equivalent of a judgment against you to pay for it out of future earnings? How many wars/conflicts do you think the US would have entered if Congress had to ask the people to fund them? Most people are oblivious to the cost of war and how it's really funded.
    Great thread, lots of insights, I find nothing worth arguing about.

    My only comment is that there are many other elements to inflation that are not ever discussed, mostly because they are sacred cows. In general, they share the characteristic with war of money spent on things that create less value than they cost. A couple of obvious ones are interest on loans, “profit” on goods and services (which I define as revenues in excess of costs), gambling (think casinos and the stock market) - practically anything where money becomes a commodity rather than a tool facilitating the exchange of things with actual material value.

    The idea that growth is fundamental to Capitalism is also inherently inflationary.

    This is the point where the warriors of sacred cows usually weigh in and people start to desperately and offensively begin arguing about particulars, with no relation to the whole picture - which is not a pretty one. I am not interested in indulging in those arguments because they are invariably circular dead ends (how’s that for a metaphorical conundrum?)

    Fundamentally, inflation is baked into most of modern human culture, and we hate it, unless we are profiting from it.

    What to do about it? Fukifino. We have to see it clearly before we can even attempt to fix it, but we really don’t want to see the roots of it. It’s more fun to pretend thar it’s somebody else’s fault.

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