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Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    The United States is marching, two steps forward and one step backward, toward war with Iraq. The Bush administration has articulated its reasons for war, but has produced no official estimates of the costs. Although cost estimates are often ignored when war is debated, most people recognize that the costs in dollars, and especially in blood, are acceptable only as long as they are low. If the estimates of American casualties mount to the thousands, if the costs to the economy are major tax increases or a deep recession, or if the United States becomes a pariah in the world because of callous attacks on civilian populations, then decision-makers in the White House and the Congress might not post so expeditiously to battle.

    In views of the salience of cost, it is surprising that there have been no systematic public analyses of the economics of a military conflict in Iraq. <a href="http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15850">This essay attempts to fill the gap</a>. We must start by acknowledging that the estimates given here are virtually certain to be wrong in some respects, for the fog of war extends far beyond the battlefield to include forecasts of political reactions and economic consequences. However, as Keynes said, it is better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong.


    I'd like to also present a graph that will help put things in better perspective but let me know what you folks think of the essay as well.


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