June 15, 2004
I don't know what Oliver's been reading, but I haven't seen the claim that the war is boosting the economy. If this nonsense is out there I want to know about it so it can be slapped down properly.
War doesn't directly help the economy because goods and services are destroyed not created. It's like the nostrum that World War II pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. Not so. Instead, it was a better-managed money supply and the pent up demand of a post-war population who weren't burdened by war-time rationing.
But in a way, war is sometimes necessary for an economy. Anarcho-capitalist and hardcore libertarian readers will balk that government can do anything beneficial, but war and police powers are needed to protect economic and political rights. World War II is an example. A Europe controlled by Nazi Germany wouldn't have been good in the long-term interests of the U.S. That continent suffering under the National Socialists' facist central planning wouldn't have been able to buy or produce as much as a free Europe could. Also, who's to say Hitler would have stopped by conquering Britain? If the U.S. never got involved in WWII the tyrant could have assumed the U.S. was weak and made preparations for the invasion of North America.
"An Economic Question"