How Do Wars Affect Economy

Topics: World War II, League of Nations, World War I Pages: 9 (2793 words) Published: November 6, 2008

War is a state of violent, large-scale conflict involving two or more groups of people. The factors leading to war are often complicated and due to a range of issues. Where disputes arise over issues such as territory, sovereignty, resource, or ideology, and if a peaceable resolution fails, is not sought, or is thwarted, war often results.

Factors leading to war:

The basic motivation, of course, is willingness to wage war, but motivations may be analysed specifically. Motivations for war may be different for those ordering the war than for those undertaking the war. For a state to prosecute a war it must have the support of its leadership, its military forces, and the population. There are many theories explaining the causes of war:

- Historical theories (sweeping explanations for all wars)
- Psychological theories (human beings are inherently violent) - Anthropological theories ( war is fundamentally cultural, learned by nurture rather than nature) - Sociological theories (many schools)

- Demographic theories ( 1. Youth Bulge: 30-40% of males of a nation belong to the “fighting age” cohorts form 15-29 years of age. 2. Religions and ideologies) - Rationalist theories (each side wants to get the best possible outcome for itself for the least possible loss of life and property to its own side) - Economic theories (argues that war can be seen as an outgrowth of economic competition in a chaotic and competitive international system) - Political science theories (motivation of states is the quest for security, to ensure survival)

Economic theories:

Another school of thought argues that war can be seen as an outgrowth of economic competition in a chaotic and competitive international system. In this view wars begin as a pursuit of new markets, of natural resources, and of wealth. Unquestionably a cause of some wars, from the empire building of Britain to the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in pursuit of oil, this theory has been applied to many other conflicts. It is most often advocated by those to the left of the political spectrum, who argue such wars serve the interests of the wealthy but are fought by the poor. Some to the right of the political spectrum may counter that poverty is relative and one poor in one country can be relatively wealthy in another. Such counter arguments become less valid as the increasing mobility of capital and information level the distributions of wealth worldwide, or when considering that it is relative, not absolute, wealth differences that may fuel wars. There are those on the extreme right of the political spectrum who provide support, fascists in particular, by asserting a natural right of the strong to whatever the weak cannot hold by force. Some centrist, capitalist, world leaders, including Presidents of the United States and US Generals, expressed support for an economic view of war.


Is it fact or fiction that war and high military spending are good for the economy?

There are two answers to this question depending on whether we are talking about short term or long term economic consequences. In the short term, war is good for the economy. Military spending generates innovations and technological advances through spin-offs from research and development. Many beneficial products we use every day, such as the Internet and laser eye surgery, have their roots in military spending. Military spending also leads to more jobs and more income. Spending of any kind, whether it is for a candy bar, cleaning up after an oil spill, or expanding your business, stimulates demand for a whole variety of goods and services. This in turn creates jobs and increases peoples’ income, thus generating economic growth. So in the short run wars and oil spills are good for economic growth in the same way as investing in your child’s education or in expanding your business — jobs are created and incomes increase. In the long run,...
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