Part 3 of our three-part series on economics and war, where we drill down into the various ways companies profiteer from war and how it stimulates the economy via “Military Keynesianism”. On the suggestion of my wise friend Tony Kynaston, we’re making this episode available to non-subscribers, because the subject we’re talking about is that important.
To summarise the last three episodes, here are some of the main ways war is good for business:
1. It’s good for companies selling weapons, both to their own country and to other countries, funded by tax dollars.
2. It’s good for companies selling other goods required during and after a war, including everything from food and clothing to reconstruction efforts – also funded by tax dollars.
3. It’s good for companies who want to gain access to undeveloped markets with new sources of natural resources and cheap labour.
4. It’s good for companies who want to lock up control of export markets that they can sell their goods and services to.
5. It’s good for companies who use war to get primary technological research done (and paid for by the taxpayers) that then makes its way into the hands of corporations.
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Cam, Ray: two things, are you able to access the BBC, they’re running a series at the moment about the start of the Cold War (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07jlq0n). Also, for research read ‘Why Nations Fail’ to gain an understanding of how and why leaders (people) grab and hold onto power.
Thanks for the recommendations, Paul! That book actually sounds like it would be good fodder for our NEXT series…
Cam, now you intrigue me. I spent 27 years in the British Army and was actually in Germany facing down the soviet state (and a few friends!) when the Berlin Wall came down. After reading Adrian Goldsworthy’s book ‘the Roman army at war’ I was intrigued as to how nations evolved and why. Guns germs and steel also provided some ideas. If you’re able look these up. The ‘bottom billion’ also makes interesting reading. Keep up the fantastic work with the podcasts – always. emulated, never copied!
I’m a big fan of Guns, Germs and Steel. Was actually explaining his theories to my mother a few days ago.
Just had a look at The Bottom Billion and it sounds great, too. Definitely helps to think more broadly about the conditions that can lead to a country’s economic struggles, beyond the usual dumbed down sound bites.
Must have been amazing to be in Germany at that time.
Yes, an excellent party, but the German hangover included the realisation how much it would cost them. For us soldiers, we wondered who our next enemy would be! Armies were reduced, this was slowed down by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and then Yugoslavia kicked off giving us a job for the rest of the decade. In the eighties we were definetly justified in our concerns about a soviet invasion of Western Europe. I’d be interested to know if any Russian general ever wrote what their plans had been.
Speaking of ‘peace in our time’, this would make nice musical insert there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUo04YP6eE 😀