December 10, 2007

Immoral Rearmament

That's the title of a review of The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze. The review was written by historian Richard Evans in the Dec. 20 New York Review of Books. Here's an interesting quote:
So extensive was Hitler's drive to rearm that it was absorbing over a fifth of German state expenditure by the eve of the war.
That skewed priority ensured the destruction of Germany, leaving few resources to, for example feed, clothe, and shelter its people, let alone maintain a modern economy.

According to official U.S. government accounting, the U.S. similarly allocates over a fifth (21% in 2007) of its budget to "national defense". According to the War Resisters League, however, adding the military portions from departments other than Defense and the debt and obligations of past military actions and readiness brings the figure to over half: 51% in 2008. Even subtracting past obligations, the figure is 31%, almost one-third of the budget.

The only outcome of that kind of misspending is disaster. Its logic requires ever more build-up which only comes at the expense of a functioning society.