Tuesday, July 29, 2014

War is never good for prosperity

The following was intended to be a letter to the New York Times, but I came across the article in question too late to send my response to them.
I am typically a fan of Tyler Cowen’s work, so I was disappointed to read his piece, "The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth." (June 13, 2014) 
In an era without the existential threat of total war, it’s true that powerful economic interests can take precedence over “the national interest” driving government decision making. The politically connected are invested in the economic status quo that produced their success and privileged status. The policies that they favour will be geared toward slowing changes that could endanger their relative positions if they cannot stop them completely. Rapid economic growth has never happened without changing that status quo.

War is not the only – and should not be anyone’s – preferred strategy for countering the powerful economic interests that push policies that slow growth. We need not choose between peace and prosperity, but we must choose between prosperity and planned predictability.