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Some have said that India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, arrived at the nation’s pro-GMO position with the help of generous campaign funding from a GMO lobby, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of Indian farmers from demonstrating against Monsanto and their biotech cronies in a massive grassroots movement that shuns anti-farmer practices and genetically modified crop farming.

Shri Rakesh Tikait, National Spokesperson for the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) explains:

“The government is exhibiting its pro-industry stance by pushing for unneeded, unwanted and unsafe GMOs in our farming. We want all open air field trials of GM crops stopped immediately in the country since such open air trials pose not only a risk of contamination but also risk of trade rejection. Further, any moves towards trade liberalization in agriculture whether through the WTO route or through free trade agreements are unacceptable to us.”

The farmers recently organized and occupied the streets in a Kisan Maha Panchayat (farmer meeting) in Delhi, India, in protest at the Modi government’s anti-farmer policies.

Among the demonstrators were hundreds of women recently, as well, who have resolved to stay put on Parliament Street in India’s capital until the government engages them in a dialogue to resolve various burning issues, among them:

  • GMOs
  • Lack of fair and remunerative prices for farm produce
  • Demand for a farm income commission
  • Removing agriculture from free trade agreements including WTO
  • Adequate disaster relief for farmers
  • And more important topics that affect farmers in a country known for high suicide rates and massive GM crop failures.

Indian farmers are among some of the hardest hit by biotech chicanery. They join the ranks of millions of others throughout the world, from Mexico to Russia that don’t want GM crops either.

A similar but more intense protest recently took place in Poland as the nation’s largest farmer uprising ever involved convoys of tractors. The protest was pointed at GMO infiltration and land grabs by biotech and Big Ag corporations.

More than 150 farmers blocked roadways and held numerous demonstrations in order to bring attention to the important issue of food sovereignty in Poland. Their focus is a ban on GMOs and a restoration of small farmer’s rights after decades of oppressive health and safety regulations which take rights away from small farms and give them to mono-cropping, poisoning Big Ag mega-companies.

Just like Poland and the rest of the world, India doesn’t want GMOs. The singular reason GMOs exist in India or anywhere else is because of government corruption and infiltration by corporations like Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF.

Additional Sources:

Image sourced from GMWatch

Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

The original source of this article is Natural SocietyCopyright © Christina SarichNatural Society, 2015

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Today, if you ask a member of the British public what they think of drugs you will often find that those who deal and consume drugs are often viewed in a criminal way, as a blight on an otherwise good society and that every ill in society would solve itself if it wasn’t for the drugs trade. It is also the view that the agents of law enforcement benevolently try their best, in vain, against what is perceived to be the “social scourge” that individuals who usually trade these narcotic consumer goods are portrayed to be. This view is so universal that it is hard to dislodge, since every institution from the corporate media to the church denounces the drugs trade and urge the keeping of the prohibition. This is where a sober analysis of this trade becomes crucial.

What is missing is an analysis which looks for much larger, intractable problems than the simple Hollywood inspired ‘good cop vs. bad dealer’ and this is what a Marxist analysis does. It aims to show the real effects the war on drugs has and how the drugs prohibition helps to keep the profits flowing for the mega rich and how it keeps the powerful in power.

Since the United States is the chief superpower in this era, we shall concentrate largely upon the drugs trade there, since it has the biggest involvement and also reaps the biggest benefit from this trade. It is also useful to point out that economists tend to avoid the topic of drugs as a commodity, simply because of the negative universal portrayal of this commodity. Our analysis definitely treats drugs as a commodity like any other and contextualises it with a class analysis to show the inherent abuses of power because of the existence of the drugs trade. It is my hope that drugs can be seen in a different light altogether, as a break from the simple and misguided dichotomy which we find as the prevailing opinion of the day.

History. The Drug Trade, Cornerstone of British “Free Trade” 

The first major war involving drugs as a commodity were the Opium Wars in the 19th Century. The aim of the war was to open the isolationist Chinese economy to exploitation, global trade, and partial colonial take-over. The Opium wars were a series of conflicts involving the European imperialist powers represented chiefly by the United Kingdom. France was a secondary player in the region to Britain. The wars were fought from 1839 to 1842 and 1856 to 1860. These were chiefly fought over trade of the narcotic called opium, which the British used to extend their imperial influence and profits at the expense of the Chinese Empire. During the Treaty of Nanjing and Tientsin, China had to cede Hong Kong Island and also Southern Kowloon as a territorial concessions. The Chinese peasantry were subjected to massive poverty and decline in their living standards, while the Chinese bourgeoisie benefited from the trade, got rich, and later dominated the state with such drug merchants such as Chiang Kai Shek, head of state in the interwar period.

It was the British East India Company’s operations in Bengal, by then occupied by Britain, which produced the opium in their factories undoubtedly putting the workers under starvation wages to feed the profits of men such as John Napier and Charles Elliot. The goods were then shipped to the coast of China and then sold for a good profit. China began to lose control of its finances and also, with the growing number of addicts in China rising, the Emperor Daoguang demanded action to stop this addiction from afflicting the Chinese people. Instead of legalisation, the supporters of suppression won the day and the Chinese then arrested Chinese opium dealers. They laid siege to the firms and demanded that their stock be destroyed. In response, the British brought their gunboats and ravaged the coast of the Chinese mainland leading to further land incursions by other European powers during the Second Opium War which, led to land concessions and pro “free-trade” concessions.

The consequences of this were China’s “century of humiliation”, opening up to Christian religious missionaries, destitution for its people, land concessions and control of swathes of territory for the benefit of European empires. For Britain, this meant an expansion of trade in East Asia for well over a century. For us, this shows the first example of how government complicity in the production, exchange, and distribution of the drugs trade emerged from Victorian Britain and how it was openly used in an imperial way to subjugate and pacify the country for exploitation. On a more general level it shows us that “free markets”, as was the norm during the Victorian Britain, have a undeniable dependence on the state, and without the state, those markets could not have opened up East Asia by themselves.

In the 17th century the same effect was achieved by selling “fire water” to the Native Americans. The British and their colonies would trade their alcohol for furs and pelts and other goods which the Native Americans gave with such naïve innocence. Our current superpower, the United States of America, was founded on such trades with the Native American population, culminating in 8 million deaths and a replacement of one population by another. It is therefore not hard to see the pivotal role which drugs and narcotics play in the imperial power game of states.

Contemporary Drugs Trade

The invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 unleashed a vast increase in the global production of opium. Opium production in Afghanistan before the invasion was 75% of the worlds total in 1999; after the invasion it comprised of 90% of the worlds total produced in the year 2000. The product was then sold as heroin to the European and Russian Markets. The Taliban used the opium for 96% of its revenue. The other sources coming from Pakistan and the Bin Laden family. The BBC quoted a UN report in 2009, which stated that the opium market, worth $65bn (£39bn), funds global terrorism, caters to 15 million addicts, and kills 100,000 people every year.

According to Global Research, $65 billion is the tip of the iceberg. The extent of the drugs trade in monetary terms amounts to between US$300 and $500 billion world-wide. Most of the funds are laundered by massive financial institutions, such as HSBC who, let it be known, laundered $22 billion of drug money through their affiliate HBUS; they got lightly fined to the tune of $1.9 billion although it is only 1/12th of their profits. The US government and the enforcement agencies ignore the financial aspect of this illegal trade and, as a result, not even one banker got prosecuted or imprisoned for breaking the US law. When we compare this to the imprisonment of the small-time domestic drug dealer and the consumer of drugs, it strikes the sober analyst of this problem as grossly negligent at the very least and premeditated at the very worst!

Catherine Austin Fitts, a former investment banker from Wall Streetwho was interviewed by Oliver Villar, gives us this astonishing insight into the trade:

“Essentially, I would say the governments run the drug trade, but they’re not the ultimate power, they’re just one part, if you will, of managing the operations. Nobody can run a drug business, unless the banks will do their transactions and handle their money. If you want to understand who controls the drug trade in a place, you need to ask yourself who is it that has to accept to manage the transactions and to manage the capital, and that will lead you to the answer who’s in control.”

Villars also corroborates this testimony that since the international drugs trade is around US$300 billion to $500 billion a year and that half of that, something between $150-$250 billion and over, actually goes to the United States. What does this say if you use an imperial political economic approach? It means that the imperial center, the financial center, is getting the most, and so it is in no interest for any great power (or state) to stop this if great amounts of the profits are flowing to the imperial center. It is also wise to note the criminalized status of drugs. It is criminalized in society, but when it comes to the economic and financial sector, it is actually decriminalized. So we have some kind of contradiction and paradox where it would be great if it would be criminalized, but when it comes to the financial sector, it is lax, unregulated, and as we know, the US Federal Reserve can monitor any deposit over $10,000, so it’s not that they don’t know – they know what’s going on. If this is the case, It is no surprise to see a vast number of money laundering banks, which include: HSBC, Western Union, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Wachovia amongst many others that have allegedly failed to comply with American and British anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

The Bush and Obama Departments of Justice spent trillions of dollars fighting the combined “war on terrorism” and “the war on drugs”, while simultaneously allowing US banks to launder money for the cause that the US is supposedly at war with! This is an active demonstration of the contradictions of Capitalism in a global microcosm. The fight against global Jihad finds itself in the same contradiction because many of the terrorist cells are funded by the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, who are in turn funded by the United States’ and Europe’s addiction to oil. This key contradiction is the reason why the US cannot win “the war on drugs” and “the war on terror” because it is undermined by its very own private institutions belonging to finance and oil bourgeois. Thereby, or so we think, underlining a conflict of interest of these bourgeois.

Drugs: The Great Game

Another aspect to the war on drugs is its use of foreign and domestic policy as a tool. On April 4th 1948 Jorge Elicére Gaitán, a populist, Liberal politician who promised land reform, was murdered by the US backed ultra-conservative oligarchy which now rules Colombia; this started what is now known in Colombia as “La Violencia”. The Cold War was the justification the US needed to use state violence in which 300,000 people died from 1948 to 1958. The people most liable to be murdered were trade union members, students in associations, peasant organizations, and the same kind of what are considered subversive elements in Colombia. Undeniably, more trade unionists are killed in Colombia than in the whole world combined. It has the lowest rate of unionization in the whole continent and it has actually come to the point where there are not many more unionists to murder. Since 2002 onwards more than 250,000 people have lost their lives in the state-sponsored terrorism.

Due to the Chinese Communist revolution’s success in combating the drugs trade from 1949 onwards, and also the victory of the Communists in Vietnam in 1975 with their success in fighting the addictions of their people, they reduced the profits of the drugs organisation and the profits of the imperial backers of these organisations. It is a historical footnote to state that Chiang Kai Shek was a drug merchant himself before he took state power and that many involved in the anti-communist reactionary counterinsurgency in Vietnam had links to the international drugs trade. The drug organisations’ production were historically based in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand due the historical importance of the Opium Wars and Britain’s global hegemony at the time. The shift of the drugs trade is mirrored in the shift of global power from one country to another (i.e. from Great Britain to the United States). The US has always sought dominion over Latin America as stated in the Monroe Doctrine. It is, therefore, not a giant leap of the imagination to state drugs are a directly imperial commodity along with oil and finance.

In aggregate, the US has spent about US$1 trillion throughout the globe on “the war on drugs/terror”. There are a few questions we should be asking ourselves about these parallels, which are more than a coincidence. Has it failed the drug money-laundering banks? Has it failed the key Western financial centers? Has it failed the narco-bourgeoisie in Colombia – or in Afghanistan, where we can see similar patterns emerging? No. Is it a success in maintaining the political economy? Yes! It is with real irony that one must imagine the cognitive dissonance the global feral elite are going through and how “oppressed” they claim to be!

This feeling of isolation they feel in their gated communities we see in Colombia and Mexico, laundering drugs and oppressing the working-class, demonstrates Marx’s idea that the narco-bourgoisie, by oppressing the working-class, oppress themselves in many ways by their very own system! And why this shows the universal need for a Socialist revolution, which will come across with the need to abolish private property. Which will, in the end, benefit all classes.

Philippine Elections 2016

The 2016 general election of the Republic of the Philippines resulted in the most widely followed electoral period in Philippine political history. Officially starting on February 9, 2016, a hodgepodge of candidates, political parties, coalitions, and electoral alliances campaigned for multiple levels of executive and legislative government positions across the officially unitary—but in practice semi-unitary—polity of the Philippines on Monday, May 9, 2016. Without question, the most watched electoral races were those for the offices of the president and vice-president.

Aside from the presidency and vice-presidency, heated contests were waged over most of the legislative seats in the bicameral Congress of the Philippines. Half of the 24 seats in the Senate—the upper chamber of the Philippine Congress—and almost 300 seats in the House of Representatives—the lower chamber of the Philippine Congress—were contested. Furthermore, the Cotabato City-based executive and legislative regional government posts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)—formed by the Mindanaoan provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi—consisting of the ARMM governorship, ARMM vice-governorship, three ARMM deputy governorships, and regional representatives in the unicameral ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly were all campaigned for.

Other local contested government offices were: the gubernatorial executive and legislative posts of governor, vice-governor, and Provincial Board legislator in the eighty-one Philippine provinces; and the country’s mayoral, vice-mayoral, and councilor offices forming the local government units for the highly urbanized component cities, independent component cities, component cities, and municipalities formed by the towns and townships of the Philippines.

The Media Centrality to 2016’s General Election

What made the 2016 election season and its campaigns unique is the integral role that the media played. The 2016 campaign period received widespread public attention and scrutiny due to the intense media coverage and the dependency of the candidates on different modes of communication and mass communication technologies, specifically the internet and social media. From the presence of the electoral candidates on social media to the mammoth advertisement campaigns they conducted and the heavy coverage provided to them by the largest news networks and newspapers in the Philippines, 2016 has been a multimodal media extravaganza par excellence for Philippine politics. From blogs, Twitter, Facebook, the online comment sections of news outlets, and public forums to community spaces and religious congregations across the Philippines, the public sphere has been abuzz. Public discussions focused on political dynasties, corruption, change, patronage, clientelism, constitutionalism, embezzlement, fraud, integrity, morality, the rule of law, and the future of the peoples of the Philippines. Despite the continued societal cynicisms about political corruption, this has led to a renewal of popular interest in Filipino politics. The supporters of all the candidates were active participants replicating the political messages and discourse(s) of those that they supported; even when campaigning was supposed to be stopped, supporters continued campaigning for their candidates on social media and in their daily exchanges.

The series of heated debates purportedly managed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) that Filipinos and Filipinas from all over the country watched and listened to on their televisions, radios, computers, or smart phones added greatly to the public debate(s) about who should administer the next government of the Philippines. Millions of Filipinos and Filipinas listened and watched the live broadcasts of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates debating one another. The insults and accusations that the presidential contenders—Vice-President Jejomar Cabauatan Binay (the United Nationalist Alliance candidate), Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (the People’s Reform Party candidate), Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte (the Philippine Democratic Party–People’s Power candidate and the winner of the election), Senator Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares (running as an independent), and Manuel Araneta Roxas II (the Liberal Party candidate from Wall Street and himself a secretary in President Benigno Aquino III’s cabinet until September 14, 2015)—hurled and leveled at one another during the live broadcasting captivated and enthralled Filipino and Filipina audiences from Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa and Central Visayas to Zamboanga, ARMM, and Soccsksargen. In Cebu City, the presidential candidates even delayed the debate when they began arguing backstage for approximately an hour over the rules of the debate. Eventually Mayor Duterte and Senator Poe would enter the stage, followed by Mar Roxas and Vice-President Binay; Senator Defensor-Santiago was absent due to her cancer treatment.

Symbolically choosing the three different regional groupings formed by the archipelago of the Philippines, the presidential candidates participated in three different debates, which were called the 2016 PiliPinas Debates. The first installment of the 2016 PiliPinas Debates was held at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro, the capital of Misamis Oriental, in Mindanao on February 21, 2016. The second 2016 PiliPinas Debate was held at the University of the Philippines Cebu in Cebu City, Visayas on March 20, 2016. The last part of the 2016 PiliPinas Debates was held at the University of Pagasinan in the City of Dagupan in Luzon on April 24, 2016.

In between the second and third legs of the debates by the presidential candidates, their running-mates and vice-presidential candidates—Senator Alan Peter Schramm Cayetano (Duterte’s running-mate), Senator Francis Joseph Guevara Escudero (Poe’s running-mate), Senator Gregorio Ballesteros Honasan (Binay’s running-mate), Senator Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos (Santiago’s running-mate), Representative Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo (the running-mate of Roxas), and Senator Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV—held their own debate at the University of San Tomas in Manila on April 10, 2016. As an added note, in the interest of full disclosure, this author was among the audience members at the University of the Philippines Cebu Performing Arts Hall during the Visayan leg of the 2016 PiliPinas Debates.

COMELEC appeared to be very hands-off in its approach to the 2016 PiliPinas Debates, instead opting to let private media enterprises do the managing. This not only highlights the important role of the media in 2016’s general election, but also the influence of private capital over state bodies and national institutions in the Philippines. Each one of the different PiliPinas Debates respectively had designated “media partners” from the major television networks and newspapers of the Philippines that played central roles in the management and organization of the debate program and its coverage. GMA Network and Philippine Daily Inquirer were responsible for the first presidential candidate debate held in Mindanao, which GMA broadcasted under its “E16: Eleksyon 2016” (E16: Election 2016) special campaign season programming. TV5, Philippine Star, and BusinessWorld were responsible for the second presidential candidate debate held in Visayas, which TV5 broadcasted as part of its “Bilang Pilipino: Boto sa Pagbabago 2016” (Count Filipino: Vote for Change 2016) campaign programming. In Luzon, CNN Philippines and BusinessMirrorwere responsible for the vice-presidential candidate debate, whereas ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin were responsible for the third presidential candidate debate, which were respectively broadcasted by CNN Philippines as part of its “The Filipino Votes” special coverage, and by ABS-CBN as part of its “Halalan 2016: Ipanalo ang Pamilyang Pilipino” (Election 2016: Winning the Filipino Family) special coverage.

Red Flags: Candidates Overspent on Advertisements

During the campaign season, it was reported that the candidates in the Philippines spent sensational amounts on their advertising. It was even reported that Philippine candidates even outspent their US counterparts with regards to their campaign advertising expenditures (Cabacungan and Santos). During the period of January to November, Binay, Poe, and Roxas respectively spent 63.2 million, 63.1 million, and 70.4 million Philippine pesos per month in 2015 (Nielsen cited in ibid.). US candidates like neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, and Senator Rafael Edward Cruz respectively spent the equivalent of approximately 33.6 million, 13.5 million and 33.6 million Philippine pesos per month in 2015, during the seven-month period of January to July, whereas Binay, Poe, and Roxas respectively spent an average of 99.4 million, 99.2 million, and 110.6 Philippine pesos per month during a period of seven months in 2015 (Ibid.; figures calculated by author using Nielsen’s dataset).

The spending contrasts between US and Philippine candidates is staggering since the US has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately 17.42 trillion US dollar, according to 2014 statistics (World Bank), and a population of 321.77 million people in mid-2015 (UN 2015) compared to the Philippines, which had a GDP of 284.77 billion US dollars, according to the same 2014 statistics (World Bank), and a population of 100.69 million people in mid-2015 (UN 2015). Citing figures from the US Federal Election Commission to contrast the advertising expenditures of presidential campaigns in the US to the larger advertising expenditures of the candidates in the Philippines, senatorial candidate Walden Belo described this as part of the “corruption of the political process” (Cabacungan and Santos).

What is important to be cognizant about is the pre-election advertisement spending of the candidates and their attempts to circumvent electoral spending laws and COMELEC caps. COMELEC regulations stipulate that every presidential candidate may spend only 10 Philippine pesos per voting citizen. This is a total of 545 million Philippine pesos for the projected fifty-four and a half million eligible Filipino voters that can participate in the 2016 general-election. COMELEC’s spending restrictions are mandated by Article 9, Section 2(7) of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines to “ensure the enforcement of the fair-and-equal exposure rule for political parties and their candidates” and to prevent “a strong party or candidate from taking undue advantage of the weakness of others” (De Leon 2005:299).

In an attempt to circumvent COMELEC’s spending cap, according to Nielsen Media (as cited by Mangahas et al.), many politicians and parties ran “social concern” advertisements, which cost 7.75 billion Philippine pesos, from the period running from January 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. The advertisements were aired during prime time on Filipino television and during the timeslots of the country’s most popular programs; 86.7 percent of these advertisements (accounting for 6.7 billion Philippine pesos) featured the candidates that would run in the general-election (Ibid.). Despite their pledges against corruption, many of these candidates disregarded the law with impunity before they even got sworn into office. Binay, Poe, and Roxas all spent approximately 1 billion Philippine pesos on their presidential campaign advertisements. According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, “even the more affluent” candidate should have become bankrupt because of the costs of their pre-campaign advertisements (Mangahas).

It is worth quoting the inference that Senator Defensor-Santiago made when she heard that her rivals had spent over one billion Philippine pesos in 2015 for their presidential bids before they were even legally allowed to begin their advertising campaigns. She rhetorically asked how these politicians paid for the scandalous amounts of their advertisements, especially since whoever becomes the president of the Philippines will make only 120,000 Philippine pesos a month (or 8.64 million in their six-year term). She then answered her own question for voters. “The simple answer is that they will steal from public funds, or will at least be tempted to do so. An alternative would be to give favors to rich contributors, to the detriment of public interest,” she reacted (Adel).

Although the regulations of COMELEC, which has been described as “a haven for fixers who deliver fictitious votes to the moneyed and the powerful” (Quimpo 2009:348), have been violated, COMELEC has not taken any substantive action. Unfortunately, this is business as usual in the Philippines. As the communications scholar Campbell (2002) points out, the Philippines is a place that is known for ineffective regulatory institutions and controls. Like most the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), either on their own or collectively as a regional bloc, in the Philippines there is a major gap between declarations and regulations, on the one hand, and performance and implementation, on the other (Roberts 2012).

Electoral Irregularities and Abuses

During voting day there were multiple irregularities, abuses, and infringements. Ahead of the voting on May 9, it is widely known that the governing Liberal Party distributed money to buy votes. The same behavior was replicated with the country’s civil servants by the Liberal Party when government workers were given pay for a “fourteenth month” as a form of enticement to vote for Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party’s other candidates.

At the polls, the names of many voters were missing from the voting lists, while other voters were oddly moved from one voting cluster to another without explanation by COMELEC, which may possibly be part of an attempt to redistribute voters in a de facto form of gerrymandering. The names of dead people were included in the voting lists of different precincts, such as in Manila. The former ambassador of the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates Roy Villareal Señeres—the presidential candidate that died in the hospital on February 8, 2016, just three days before withdrawing his bid for the presidency on February 5, 2016—was kept on the ballots by COMELEC and got at least 22,726 votes by the time the ballots in approximately 87 percent of the precincts had been counted, according to report by Rappler published on May 10, 2016.

Procedural rules were not followed on voting day. As observed by the author in Central Visayas, the polling clerks did not check the identification cards of voters. Candidates did not even stop their campaigning as COMELEC required them to do one day before the vote on May 8, 2016. The voting cards that the candidates distributed to voters had political advertising that, if not outright, in spirit violated the COMELEC regulations requiring politicians to end their campaigning. While on average 33.7 percent or one-third of registered voters in the Philippines will not vote or will never be able to vote (Panao 2016:2), even worse, many Filipinos and Filipinas were disenfranchised from voting because they could not access voting stations or pay for government documents, which they need to register for voting.

Debunking the Stubborn Myth that War Is Good for the Economy

About.com notes:

One of the more enduring myths in Western society is that wars are somehow good for the economy.

It is vital for policy-makers, economists and the public to have access to a definitive analysis to determine once and for all whether war is good or bad for the economy.

That analysis is below.

Top Economists Say War Is Bad for the Economy

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman notes:

If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time. In his famous 1910 book “The Great Illusion,” the British journalist Norman Angell argued that “military power is socially and economically futile.” As he pointed out, in an interdependent world (which already existed in the age of steamships, railroads, and the telegraph), war would necessarily inflict severe economic harm even on the victor. Furthermore, it’s very hard to extract golden eggs from sophisticated economies without killing the goose in the process.

We might add that modern war is very, very expensive. For example, by any estimate the eventual costs (including things like veterans’ care) of the Iraq war will end up being well over $1 trillion, that is, many times Iraq’s entire G.D.P.

So the thesis of “The Great Illusion” was right: Modern nations can’t enrich themselves by waging war.

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz agrees that war is bad for the economy:

Stiglitz wrote in 2003:

War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon. Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy.

Stiglitz has also said that this decade’s Iraq war has been very bad for the economy. See thisthis and this.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan also said in that war is bad for the economy. In 1991, Greenspan said that a prolonged conflict in the Middle East would hurt the economy. And he made this point again in 1999:

Societies need to buy as much military insurance as they need, but to spend more than that is to squander money that could go toward improving the productivity of the economy as a whole: with more efficient transportation systems, a better educated citizenry, and so on. This is the point that retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) learned back in 1999 in a House Banking Committee hearing with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Frank asked what factors were producing our then-strong economic performance. On Greenspan’s list: “The freeing up of resources previously employed to produce military products that was brought about by the end of the Cold War.” Are you saying, Frank asked, “that dollar for dollar, military products are there as insurance … and to the extent you could put those dollars into other areas, maybe education and job trainings, maybe into transportation … that is going to have a good economic effect?” Greenspan agreed.

Economist Dean Baker notes:

It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.

Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the American University Joshua Goldstein notes:

Recurring war has drained wealth, disrupted markets, and depressed economic growth.

***

War generally impedes economic development and undermines prosperity.

And David R. Henderson – associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and previously a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers – writes:

Is military conflict really good for the economy of the country that engages in it? Basic economics answers a resounding “no.”

The Proof Is In the Pudding

Mike Lofgren notes:

Military spending may at one time have been a genuine job creator when weapons were compatible with converted civilian production lines, but the days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone. [Indeed, WWII was different from current wars in many ways, and so its economic effects are not comparable to those of today’s wars.] Most weapons projects now require relatively little touch labor. Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned into high-cost R&D (from which the civilian economy benefits little), exorbitant management expenditures, high overhead, and out-and-out padding, including money that flows back into political campaigns. A dollar appropriated for highway construction, health care, or education will likely create more jobs than a dollar for Pentagon weapons procurement.

***

During the decade of the 2000s, DOD budgets, including funds spent on the war, doubled in our nation’s longest sustained post-World War II defense increase. Yet during the same decade, jobs were created at the slowest rate since the Hoover administrationIf defense helped the economy, it is not evident. And just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added over $1.4 trillion to deficits, according to the Congressional Research Service. Whether the wars were “worth it” or merely stirred up a hornet’s nest abroad is a policy discussion for another time; what is clear is that whether you are a Keynesian or a deficit hawk, war and associated military spending are no economic panacea.

The Washington Post noted in 2008:

A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that countries with high military expenditures during World War II showed strong economic growth following the war, but says this growth can be credited more to population growththan war spending. The paper finds that war spending had only minimal effects on per-capita economic activity.

***

A historical survey of the U.S. economy from the U.S. State Department reports the Vietnam War had a mixed economic impact. The first Gulf War typically meets criticism for having pushed the United States toward a 1991 recession.

The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) shows that any boost from war is temporary at best. For example, while WWII provided a temporary bump in GDP, GDP then fell back to the baseline trend. After the Korean War, GDP fell below the baseline trend:

IEP notes:

By examining the state of the economy at each of the major conflict periods since World War II, it can be seen that the positive effects of increased military spending were outweighed by longer term unintended negative macroeconomic consequences. While the stimulatory effect of military outlays is evidently associated with boosts in economic growth, adverse effects show up either immediately or soon after, through higher inflation, budget deficits, high taxes and reductions in consumption or investment. Rectifying these effects has required subsequent painful adjustments which are neither efficient nor desirable. When an economy has excess capacity and unemployment, it is possible that increasing military spending can provide an important stimulus. However, if there are budget constraints, as there are in the U.S. currently, then excessive military spending can displace more productive non-military outlays in other areas such as investments in high-tech industries, education, or infrastructure. The crowding-out effects of disproportionate government spending on military functions can affect service delivery or infrastructure development, ultimately affecting long-term growth rates.

***

Analysis of the macroeconomic components of GDP during World War II and in subsequent conflicts show heightened military spending had several adverse macroeconomic effects. These occurred as a direct consequence of the funding requirements of increased military spending. The U.S. has paid for its wars either through debt (World War II, Cold War, Afghanistan/Iraq), taxation (Korean War) or inflation (Vietnam). In each case, taxpayers have been burdened, and private sector consumption and investment have been constrained as a result. Other negative effects include larger budget deficits, higher taxes, and growth above trend leading to inflation pressure. These effects can run concurrent with major conflict or via lagging effects into the future. Regardless of the way a war is financed, the overall macroeconomic effect on the economy tends to be negative. For each of the periods after World War II, we need to ask, what would have happened in economic terms if these wars did not happen? On the specific evidence provided, it can be reasonably said, it is likely taxes would have been lower, inflation would have been lower, there would have been higher consumption and investment and certainly lower budget deficits. Some wars are necessary to fight and the negative effects of not fighting these wars can far outweigh the costs of fighting. However if there are other options, then it is prudent to exhaust them first as once wars do start, the outcome, duration and economic consequences are difficult to predict.

We noted in 2011:

This is a no-brainer, if you think about it. We’ve been in Afghanistan for almost twice as long as World War II. We’ve been in Iraq for years longer than WWII. We’ve been involved in 7 or 8 wars in the last decade. And yet [the economy is still unstable]. If wars really helped the economy, don’t you think things would have improved by now? Indeed, the Iraq war alone could end up costing more than World War II. And given the other wars we’ve been involved in this decade, I believe that the total price tag for the so-called “War on Terror” will definitely support that of the “Greatest War”.

Let’s look at the adverse effects of war in more detail …

War Spending Diverts Stimulus Away from the Real Civilian Economy

IEP notes that – even though the government spending soared – consumption and investment were flatduring the Vietnam war:


Read more Global Research

Boity buy a house for her birthday

Boity Thulo got herself the biggest (literally) present for her 26th birthday – a mansion!

The TV and radio personality is truly owning her throne with this major purchase.

The Club 808 presenter is feeling very blessed about her achievement.  

“Never in my wildest, most far-fetched dreams did I ever think that God would do more for me than what I prayed for. I am constantly left gobsmacked at how God continues to shows off His Love through my life. This wasn't a part of the plan but here I am, able to gift myself with a house at the age of 26. I am in complete AWE. To God Be the Glory. Always and Forever,” she captioned a picture of her new mansion. 

Earlier this year, Boity encouraged her fans not to be offended by other people’s success, because everyone has their own path in life.

There was (almost) nothing but positive vibes on social media. 

Boity was trending on Friday after fans flooded Twitter with messages of congratulations.

Many users on the social network were inspired by the fact that Boity was able to buy a house at such a young age.

But this is Twitter, so of course there was some hate. Some users said Boity's house looks like a community hall or the entrance of a hardware store. 

Haters gonna' hate, but we don't see them balling out on a mansion for their birthdays. *sips tea*

Congrats, Boity!

vigi

DJ Vigilante released one of his most anticipated tracks to date, which features star rappers Nasty C, K.O, and AKA, but according to the fans, the song is below average.

Cashtime Life just doesn’t believe in the word rest.

Just a month after releasing K.O’s Papa Action, the record label has returned with yet another single that will probably run these hip hop streets in a few hours.

Introducing DJ Vigilante’s third single, Bang Out, featuring K.O, Nasty C, and AKA.

Fans of the stable have already got their hands on the record and a heated debate about the rawness of this track has already begun on social media, from Sound Cloud comments to Twitter discussions.

As much as Cashtime Life is known for churning out hits, it may seem like Vigi’s latest single is just not cutting it with the masses.

Considering that it has three of the hottest rappers in the game on it, for some reason, the song, to avid hip hop listeners, just does not cut it.


Bangout1Twitter

Whilst @humortrafficker felt that the lyrics from AKA and Nasty C were okay, but K.O's verse just did not cut it for him.

BangOut2

#BangOut is filled with a lot of criticism from fans, which is actually always a good thing for artists, as we all need a little criticism when it comes to our craft.

Some of the fans are hopeful that the song will grow on them in due time.

Bangout3Twitter

With all the criticism there are some fans who actually think all three rappers did pretty well on the track

BangOut4Twitter

bangout5Twitter

Whilst @TheUnoYouKnow made a very valid point about people's criticism of the song.

bangout6Twitter

Our thoughts of the track?

Bang Out honestly isn't as captivating as DJ Vigilante's other singles like Pasop, Sorry Makhe and Gods Will. If Anything this is his most average work by far.

But maybe we do need some time to get used to the track?

Have a listen to DJ Vigilante's Bang Out and leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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