1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6161/the-living-reality-of-military-economic-fascism/

The Living Reality of Military-Economic Fascism

January 19, 2007 by

Military-supply firms exemplify a fundamentally corrupt type of organization. Their income comes to them only after it has first been extorted from the taxpayers at gunpoint — hence their compensation amounts to receiving stolen property. They are hardly unwitting or unwilling recipients, however, because they are not drafted to do what they do. No wallflowers at this dance of death, they eagerly devote strenuous efforts to encouraging government officials to wring ever-greater amounts from the taxpayers and to distribute the loot in ways that enrich the contractors, their suppliers, and their employees. FULL ARTICLE

{ 18 comments }

Paul Marks January 20, 2007 at 9:02 am

What is military spending these days – about 3.5% of G.D.P.? Under J.F.K. it was over 10% of G.D.P. (at a time when a only a tiny fraction of military spending was going to Vietnam by the way).

Of course in all other Western nations (with the exception of Japan – where military spending has been tiny since World War II) military spending has also shrunk as a share of the economy over the last few decades (in Britain it has been in decline for a least fifty years).

Military spending seems to be the one form of government spending that does go into decline.

It would be interesting to try and work out WHY military spending is less difficult to control than health, education or welfare spending (or farm subsidies, or …… well just about any other form of government spending).

Instead there is yet another attack on the “Fascist” United States.

When Murry Rothbard and Karl Hess tried this in the 1960′s they at least did not know that it would not work (i.e. that free market folk could never make themselves seem “cool” and “hip” to the media, academia and the rest of the left), but there is no excuse for it now.

Of course military spending is wasteful (all government spending is) and of course some corporations benefit from it (although far more corporations are hurt by it – by such things as the taxes and borrowing needed to pay for the military spending), but it is not the big issue in American politics today (indeed Donald Rumsfeld was often attacked for trying to fight the war “on the cheap” – and, as odd as it seems, he did try and limit spending)the entitlement programs are.

The Welfare State is the central issue in all Western nations and the left are never going to allies in this central issue of our age. No matter how much we bash corporations or talk about “Fascist” America.

Still at least we did not have “the war is for oil” or “the war is for corporate profits” – when, in fact, it is President Wilson style war for democracy – quite wrong headed (at least to my way of thinking) but nothing like the war the media and so on present.

Steve Hogan January 20, 2007 at 1:46 pm

If I understand Mr. Marks’s point correctly, we should be grateful that as a percentage of total economic output, American public officials steal less than their counterparts in Western Europe for guns and bullets. If only more congress critters were on the take, America could equal the graft and corruption of the rest of the developed world.

What happened to America’s desire to be #1? Might I suggest that congressmen redouble their efforts to spend our money? They should be drinking more expensive wines and employing more expensive prostitutes in this noble pursuit!

The message is very simple: the entire military procurement system is a gigantic looting machine, and we are the suckers. A lot of innocent people are being killed and maimed, and trillions of dollars are being squandered – all for the purpose of enriching a few cretins in Washington, DC. It’s appalling.

Brent January 20, 2007 at 3:58 pm

% of GDP is a dubious measure for many government programs. The military may be the most frivilous government activity to try to use % of GDP to measure.

At any rate, the United States spends more $$ on military activities than most of the rest of the world combined. The United States military soaked up bt. 40-50% of total world military spending… at least according to here and here. I presume that if the rest of the world spent more on their militaries, the United States government would likely do its best to increase expenditures so as to keep that percentage about the same and, thus, raising the % of GDP stat.

Bill January 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Brent you are absolutely correct. It is not the percentage of GDP. That is because the economy has grown faster than the need for military crap. The problem is the reason for making this military stuff in the first place (Welfare for the wealthy). We need a fraction of the hardware and people that are currently in the military and the military industrial complex to adequately defend OURSELVES.

More importantly, the military procurement process sucks huge percentages of technical folks (because of the corruption it pays more) out of academic and WORSE consumer supporting positions. So we have overly large percentages of home grown techie types going guns instead of butter. This process hurts the US CONSUMERS most of all.

PS: It is good for me as I am a techie in the business of providing industrial software to people who supply goods to consumers.

Mark Brabson January 20, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Just prior to the New Deal, the entire Federal Government was 3% of GDP, an already way to big. A properly sized Federal Government would probably total just around 1% of GDP.

We need to withdraw from everywhere in the world, including South Korea and Europe. Reduce our active duty Army strength to zero. Reduce our Navy and Air Force drastically to defensive only posture. I could go through and name hundreds of useless research and development projects that are nothing but pork for some congressman’s district. These programs need to be annihilated in their entirety. Oh, and abolish the totally redundant Marine Corps.

rob January 21, 2007 at 12:18 am

“More importantly, the military procurement process sucks huge percentages of technical folks (because of the corruption it pays more) out of academic and WORSE consumer supporting positions.”

Bill is 100% correct. I currently work for a defense contractor famous for radars. I am literally surrounded by PhDs – in neighborhood of 30 out of 200 people total for the program I am involved in. Some are doing pretty cutting edge algorithm work, but most are analysts and testers. The previous company I worked for (commercial) had about 12 total (out of 4500) and they were all involved in R&D at the bleeding edge of optical transmission technology….analysis and testing was done by undergrads or technicians. One other point of contrast is most of the PhDs at my previous firm hold one or more patents – none of the ones I am now associated with do.

Nathan Reed January 21, 2007 at 9:18 am

Mark:

There is no such thing as a properly sized government. This evil is either permitted to exist or it is not permitted to exist. If permitted at all it will by its very nature grow until it kills itself (plenty of history to support this).

There is a question of will an out of control government eventually kill civilization. I think not (opptumist) but only time will tell. I think man will eventually tire of this obscene exercise of needlessly enslaving ourselves.

No government of any kind, shape, fashion, or design will ever work at any time.

Nathan

Nathan Reed January 21, 2007 at 9:19 am

Mark:

There is no such thing as a properly sized government. This evil is either permitted to exist or it is not permitted to exist. If permitted at all it will by its very nature grow until it kills itself (plenty of history to support this).

There is a question of will an out of control government eventually kill civilization. I think not (opptumist) but only time will tell. I think man will eventually tire of this obscene exercise of needlessly enslaving ourselves.

No government of any kind, shape, fashion, or design will ever work at any time.

Nathan

David White January 21, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Nathan, you are right: “There is no such thing as a properly sized government.” But insofar as smaller is better, consider this:

When the first Congress met in 1790, there was one representative for every 30,000 people. Since only property-holding white males could vote, that was close to Plato’s ideal figure of around 5,000 voting citizens per state. By 1910, the US population was 90 million, and Congress capped representation in the House at 435, where it remains today.

Now, however, there are 300 million Americans, yielding a ratio of one representative for every 790,000 Americans. If we apply this ratio to 1790, there would have been only five members in the House of Representatives. Or, to put it another way, if the ratio of the 1790 Congress existed today, there would be over 9,000 members in the House. (Source, “Dismantling Leviathan” by Donald W. Livingston)

“Representative democracy” is a farce, in other words, and the Internet is exposing it as such. What else could possibly lie behind the Senate’s craven attempt to muzzle political action via the Internet?

http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north504.html

Mark Brabson January 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm

As I have chosen not to accept the anarchist position, at least for the time being, I have to posit that there is, from a minarchist view, some correct size to government, albiet very small.

I will make a slight alteration on my original statement. A properly sized government, under the U.S. Constitution, would likely be around 1% of GDP. A properly sized government, established under an Articles of Confederation type structure, would likely be less than 0.5% of GDP.

There are some keys to keeping a government inside its bounds. The most important is the explicit banning of the emission of bills of credit or any form of expansionary central banking whatsoever. Secondarily is strict limits on borrowing, with provisions for quick repayment. Even the most ambitious kings had to give it up when they couldn’t obtain the money to carry out their ambitions. Finally, eliminate the central executive altogether and decentralize the executive departments.

David White January 21, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Mark Brabson,

The unrepealed but grossly violated Coinage Act of 1792 –http://landru.i-link-2.net/monques/coinageact.html — is explicit with regard to what constitutes a dollar, but as with every other such violation, what Jefferson called “the chains of the Constitution” have turned out to be mere tissue paper.

Again, Nathan is right: “There is no such thing as a properly sized government.” Instead, there is only human-scale governance, which is to say the “market democracy” epitomized by the Internet.

Sam January 22, 2007 at 12:23 am

Interestingly, as you pointed out Mark Brabson, the term ‘government’ implies ‘to govern’ or ‘governance’. It does beg the question then what capacity does anyone have to govern? Do parents have the right to govern children? If a honest rule is one where a person have the right to leave such rule, then does that mean children have the right to secede from parents? Does it mean therefore the greatest gift a child could give himself/herself is to become independent from an early age as possible as to learn the value of self-determination?

On the other hand, David White, I read that articles on the LewRockell site of the U.S. Constitution about coinage. As implied before the greatest faith in a currency has to be through precious metal coinage as an owner of such a coin knows that the value of the coin depends on its physical contents. Whereas a holder of a paper note knows that the ho-hum value of a note is dependent on its face value which has variable (usually decreasing) meaning.

Peter January 22, 2007 at 1:21 am

If a honest rule is one where a person have the right to leave such rule, then does that mean children have the right to secede from parents?

Of course. Don’t all children eventually “secede” from their parents, and live their own lives?

Does it mean therefore the greatest gift a child could give himself/herself is to become independent from an early age as possible as to learn the value of self-determination?

How does that follow? Children will secede when they’re ready (or when their parents kick them out).

Sam January 22, 2007 at 5:59 am

Oh hamburgers!

Nathan Reed January 22, 2007 at 9:47 am

Mark:

Sorry about the spelling error.

Whenever I mention no government to statist friends I am asked to provide examples of a society living without government (They just bubble with excitement when they ask.).

I now have started asking for examples of a society living with government. And I ask that they include a complete list of the death and misery that goes with it. Include little tidbits like the FDA that precludes the use of simple inexpensive drugs thus slaughtering people (Examples go on and on and on…….). And then I ask: What is all the enthusiasm about? Why are we so driven to make such an abomination work?

Government is simply a step along the way to learning how to live together. Lets hope that it is a temporary aberration and we will outgrow the “security blanket” good feeling it appears to provide.

Some of the greatest minds in history dedicated themselves to developing government structures that could be controlled. All fail. When do we conclude: “Done that.” “Got a t-shirt.”

The silly ideas of electing, appointing, breeding, or otherwise enslaving ourselves to someone will not work. Government (statism) is dead on arrival. I have no insight that says it will not continue until times end. It very well may. But I sure hope we grow past such a feeble idea before self destruction.

I would agree that such a world is not going to happen in my lifetime (or any time soon after). But I refuse to celebrate having a relatively small dose of cancer.

I am with Murray.

Thanks,

Nathan Reed

billwald January 22, 2007 at 1:15 pm

There is a qualitative difference between the govt using tax revenue to build infrastructure and using tax revenue to kill people in Asia and Africa.

Nathan Reed January 22, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Billwald:

The difference I would note is this. When the government builds infrastructure that has undesirable unintended consequences there is no market mechanism to cut off the funds and end the affair. Therefore the “infrastructure” continues and continues….. and grows and grows….. Next thing you know you have to have a new vocabulary. Words like entitlement get created. And 40,000+ people a year die in wrecks on government designed, government built, government financed, and government regulated roadways (infrastructure) yet there is no means for the individual to say “No More Please”.

Thanks,

Nathan Reed

Ramon Ramirez January 22, 2007 at 8:39 pm

The crux of the problem, ladies and gentlemen, is the collection of taxes – notice, plural.

Add all the taxes you encounter-income tax, SS tax, Medicare tax, gasoline tax, property tax, phone tax, car tax, estate tax, state income tax, city income tax (NYC) and the list goes on and on.

Some might think that they are not affected by some of these taxes. The bottom line is that all taxes are passed by businesses to consumers, by employers to employees.

What we need is a repeal of the federal income tax for individuals. Also, full 100% SS contribution by employers.

In addition, we’ll need to scale down significantly the military, and scale down the state prison system. What the hell, open wide the doors and let everyone go. Other countries have amnesties. Is there such a thing in the U.S.?
And take cars away from cops. Let them walk the beat (yes, even in wintertime).

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: