John Young on Sun, 7 Mar 2010 23:25:18 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> A scenario for World War III

The writings and lectures of Robert Mundell are relevant to this.
Mundell, Economic Nobelist, provided the intellectual framework for
the Euro and is now a prime advisor to the Peoples Republic of China
-- which has established an ecomomics institute to train in and
advance his philosophy.

A Canadian by birth, long in the United States, educated in the
Chicago School and distinguished professor at Columbia Univeristy,
Mundell is usually associated with supply siders and conservatives but
is considerably more subtle and complex than these terms suggest.

His work with the Euro and the PRC indicate a multi-nationalism
favored by market-driven globalists who much prefer mutually
beneficial economic persuasion over wasteful war. The short-term
benefits of war for the national security industry may lift a nation
or a coaltion out of depression or recession but paying the very
expensive bills for profligate warmaking and its corollary standing
militaries is contrary to comprehensive economic health.

Better to foster markets and consumers than slaughter and tending
the wounded (which reduces the number of consumers, fear and anxiety
diminishes their buying confidence, and increased taxation drains
their spending capability).

What needs sustained examination is the form of multi-national
government Mundell advances against the unilateral big power of the US
and formerly the USSR and always the bugaboo of less powerful nations
so useful in keeping their inhabitants fearfully obedient.

Europe might aspire to big power status except the cost of a military
to undergird that wasteful if politically seductive conceit is far
from economically rational, the ancient nations know the terrible cost
of war best of all, and even capitalists can see that national threats
are a confidence game to inflate the role of criminally inefficient,
irresponsbile governments.

The few capitalist industries which benefit from national security
ideology during spasms of induced crisis also disrupt orderly markets
with spikes in profits and disturbance of happy customers not to say
dreadful scenes of flag-draped coffins and carnage in the media which
so aggrieves smiley-faced advertisers and cheers pulpiteer doomsayers.

It may be fanciful to imagine war could be avoided by relieving
grievance with economic benefits, spreading the wealth, distributing
resources more equitably. Still, economists are sufficiently conceited
to believe they can offer an alternative to the ancient legacy of
warmaking which inevitably distorts the fair sharing of benefits among
the poplulace, indeed generates a cariacature of friendly capitalism
with piggish profiteers and bloody-toothed ideologues.

More fanciful is to imagine economists, particularly political
economists, teaching, preaching and advising against their short-term
profits so easily marketed to short-term marketeers and lobby-drunk
electees. The fees for flattering the powerful are irresistable,
prizes and prestige are not given for going against the giant egos,
not really, although pretending to be a critical contrarian master
of the op-ed is pretty lucrative and shrewdly realistically dirty as

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