Time to end the academic arms race

Discussion in 'Economics & Trade' started by LafayetteBis, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Well, I'm saying these f*cks who keep starting these wars shouldn't have our money. So long as people keep crying out for more money to be extracted out of the population and handed to the government they must also accept that this is ultimately the main precondition for making war possible.

    This is as old as time. Every Kingdom in antiquity has had to tax the sh*t out of everyone to finance their wars.

    And people always go on about the profit motive for war. It's only the profit potential from government contracts essentially. Unless the war was seriously popular (which none are) then any organisation looking to put its own investment into an invasion in the hopes that they'll make a profitable return is seriously mistaken.
     
  2. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

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    Disagree with the premise. Sorry.
    Why do you feel large states are more violent than small ones?
    Sudan. Syria. Israel. Libya. Yugoslavia. Ukraine.
    North Korea regularly attacks South Koreans. They "stay in their lane" because America makes them.

    Don't agree.

    People are violent. It's in our nature to be so.

    Profit is one motive for war.
    Profit = ability to feed yourself.

    Life is competitive. You are in competition with other lifeforms and your own, for food.


    The biggest critics of American foriegn policy are pro EU because they wish to see America curbed by European power.

    And this is what expansionist empires will do.
    Result of this = world war.
    When empires collide.


    Wars are extremely popular as long as you are winning.


    When we invaded Iraq and kicked the living **** out of the Iraqi armies, everyone down the pub loved it.
    It became universally unpopular when TV coverage presented it as a losing war.

    That's not to say it wasn't unpopular with many all along, it was. But not universally so. Just amongst the usual peaceniks.
    A whopping 1 million of them marched against it.
    Part of the unpopularity of that war of course was the way it was presented to us.
    The obvious lying in an attempt to build public support.

    WW2, immensely unpopular at the time, is now very popular indeed.
    Because we won it.

    And as many small states fought in that war as large ones. More.


    Large states provide an element of peacemaking. Pax Romanis.
    Pax Americana.

    They keep smaller states under their thumbs. Dominated.
    Peace through superior firepower.

    Without a top dog, all the little dogs will fight to be top dog.
    For all the violence of a top dog, it's the most peaceful way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  3. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Look at the countries most infected by neoliberalism (including the premise of reduced taxation and perceived importance of the market). They actually tend to have rather aggressive foreign policy.

    Its not the tax that's important. It is the lack of accountability. See, for example, how the risks of war are inflamed by the military industrial complex.

    There is no neat distinction between private and public sectors when it comes to war. Consider, for example, the rapid increase in costs in military hardware. This has led to mergers, as firms attempt to secure economies of scale. That then increases the cosy relationship (i.e. influence costs) between government and arms producer.
     
  4. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Oh tax absolutely is the problem. It's indubitable. Now admittedly this is a bit of an extreme stance I'm taking here -- I mean you couldn't say it's very realistic in the immediate future but it's still true. The power of taxation makes war possible in the absence of genuine widespread support and like I said no power has been able to finance large scale conflicts without it.

    Just take a look at the spikes in GPD to debt ratio across all belligerents after WW1 and WW2. The ability to tax and the ability to borrow on the basis that future tax payers will service the debt is the only way these type of wars can be economically viable.

    OK a 'neo-liberal' government started the Iraq war. Firstly tax revenue as a percentage of GPD stays more or less the same from one government to the next -- which means it's usually growing year on year. Individual policy changes doesn't alter this by much. But they say this war cost 2 trillion. How can any organisation spend two trillion (on the basis that tax payers will shoulder it at a later date), in the hope that... after all the dust settles, you might be able to turn Iraq into a neo-liberal-esque social democracy?

    It's literally the craziest business plan on the planet and would never fly without taxation. Because making good on a two trillion investment as risky as that is wholly untenable... does anyone even know the amount of money which made its way back into the US as a result? I have no idea. Sure ain't two trillion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  5. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Tax is used to finance public goods, including national security. It provides no impetus for war. You don't get a government thinking "tax revenues have increased, lets attack our neighbours"

    Bit obvious that World War is costly. Germany didn't go to war because of an ability to tax. It went to war because of nationalism and a false sense of racial superiority.

    The US/UK going to war was clearly not in the interests of the domestic populations (the same could be said for imperialism). But it's interesting that neoliberalism and aggressive foreign policy have gone hand-in-hand. There are false notions of reduced tyranny at home, but apparently a need to coerce 'little foreigner' to celebrate that sense of hegemonic righteousness

    The US uses its military sector as part of macroeconomic stabilisation. That doesn't reflect 'ability to tax'. It reflects a lack of interest in eliminating structural flaws in the economy (which necessarily would require progressive taxation as part of a coherent redistribution policy to control inequalities)
     
  6. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

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    Agree on Tax also agree on Bank of England.
    On money printing and on state borrowing from the public and from the world. Which was originally done to fund the Napoleonic war.

    Don't agree that being dead or enslaved is preferable to being taxed.
    World War 2 is an example of money well spent and every male adult born in the UK since 1939 owes their existence to it.
    It's been an excellent investment that was anything but crazy.

    We simply wouldn't exist at all, without that investment having occured.


    What has the value of "the American Century" been to America?
    It's priceless. Who can put a number on the profits they have made.
    Access to world markets. Industrialised country with world access and little to no industrialised competition. A super power is born.

    Are defences made without taxation? Yes they are. Private armies and security guards exist and always have.
    The difference taxation has made is the scale of them.

    India was conquered by an army that was not taxpayer funded.
    And in the example of India it's conquest by a private company is responsible for the UK's current taxation models, which India taught us to use.

    Many revolts are popular in their inception. Militias routinely fight wars and insurrections are not tax payer funded, The American War of Independence for example was clear victory for a non tax payer funded army over a tax payer funded army.

    Take tax out of the equation and wars and armies still exist.

    Ethopia may not be a superpower but millions still died in Ethopia. More than all the UK has lost to all wars combined.
    Tax may better facilitate wars, but it may just better facilitate victory.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  7. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Germany doesn't get to go to war, unless they can tax. It doesn't matter if there's a feeling amongst elites that it would be a good idea, they wouldn't put their own money towards it.

    This is an Anarchist argument I hope you understand. Hitler without the state is just a crackpot with a dodgy moustache shouting at everyone :)
     
  8. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    You're going around in circles. We need to tax to fund public goods. It would be irrational not to have them. We also know that countries which use tax more progressively, perhaps due to a social democratic outlook, tend to be less likely to adopt an aggressive foreign policy.

    You'd still be wrong. There's no reason, for example, that the 'theory of the elites' (as applied to fascism) couldn't perceive a privately funded war. The key aspect is the nationalism, not the tax.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  9. james M

    james M Banned

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    liberals always believe that tomorrow the liberal state will reverse its 10,000 year record of blood and gore!! Our Founders knew better and created a very very limited state.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  10. james M

    james M Banned

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    and to fund 10,000 years of blood and gore that would have been avoided with very limited govt.
     
  11. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    I have conceded that this is really pie in the sky stuff. But like I said it's still true. I've said you need tax for war to be economically viable. Your response is 'we need tax to fund public goods'. Doesn't refute the claim.

    Not true. I've given you an example. Explain how the Iraq war, an unpopular war, could be privately funded.

    Some crazy billionaire? He'd sink all his funds in a second and for what? There's no profit in it, it's risky as hell, it's not even really in the national interest. No business man in his right mind would do it.
     
  12. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

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    Hitler had a private army.
    The SS.

    He raised a popular army.
    Many other leaders have raised a popular militia.

    Stalin/whoever won his revolution without taxation to fund his army. Rockerfeller the billionaire famously invested in this revolution.

    A billionaire who feels he is going to lose his life and family will invest everything he has and everything he can borrow to prevent this outcome.

    When your profit = life itself, that is the biggest profit of all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  13. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

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    How could the Iraq war have been privately funded?
    Halliburton raises a mercenary army and invades to take control of the oil reserves.

    Real example? The East India Company. Which invaded and conquered India plus Pakistan plus Bangladesh.
    To a massively profitable outcome.


    Germany doesn't get to go to war because we will nuke them if they do.
    No other reason. They are outgunned. Living peacefully under Pax Americana, Pax Britannia and Pax Russia.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  14. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Tax is needed. I can't play pretend.

    I didn't refer to an unpopular war. I referred to how there is no reason to assume that fascist aggression cannot be privately funded. Indeed, in such societies private ownership continues and is married to a highly influential state. Tax wouldn't be necessarily required.

    It would simply need the fascist virus to infect a sufficient number of the elite and general population. And, let's not forget, there were plenty of rich folks quite taken by fascism and the promises of Hitler. How were the fascist summer training camps, prior to Germany declaring war on the US, funded? Via German-American business people perhaps?
     
  15. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    You mean Lenin? -- Lenin couldn't survive two seconds without taxation, however. And domestic coups are a slightly different kettle of fish. The goal is ultimately to gain the power of taxation, which makes it economically viable.

    I'd be interested to know how the SS was funded if not by the government in some way.

    ISIS is a private army. And it's a shame that people are so f*cked in the head that an organisation like that could gain traction. But two things... follow the money and I guarantee you'll find that they have enjoyed government support (arms/funds). Secondly they almost immediately started demanding taxes from the people in the areas under their control; because they need it to survive. Take away state sponsorship and take away tax and ISIS barely exists.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  16. james M

    james M Banned

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    1) its much harder without use of the state apparatus already in place
    2) with a libertarian mindset the world thinks only in terms of peace
    3) with a liberal mindset the world thinks only in terms of govt control and the violence that can then be deployed.
     
  17. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

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    And yet Lenin survived his war quite without tax funding.
    It was a popular revolt.

    The SS was funded through donation and confiscation I expect. Like Lenin's army and Isis army, by an organisation that went on to become the government.

    Political movements gain traction. Ideology exists.
    People recognise their self interest in it and participate.

    Football hooligans fight. They don't profit from it, it costs them to do so.
    Tribalism and tribal rivalries exist. It is the nature of man for them to do so.

    People from all over the world flood to ISIS to fight for free.
    Neither is there any financial advantage for our countries to fight them.
    We aren't doing it to make a profit. The opposite is more true.
    We just don't like them.

    The crusades were not tax payer funded. The Pope demanded them and the participants spent fortunes on persecuting his holy wars.
    These people are willing to give their lives. It means more to them than money. They bring their own.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  18. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Given I'm referring to a fascist scenario, you're typing bobbins as usual.
     
  19. james M

    james M Banned

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    1) its much harder without use of the libfascist state apparatus already in place
    2) with a libertarian mindset the world thinks only in terms of peace
    3) with a libfascist mindset the world thinks only in terms of govt control and the violence that can then be deployed.
     
  20. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    Yes you can copy and paste drivel. I already know that!
     
  21. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Sure but what is Vietnam without the US and Russia? Israel without the US and Britain? Ukraine without the EU and Russia... Cuba without the US and Russia... Sudan without China and the US, Korea without the US and Russia... Syria without the US, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Every relatively small conflict seems only to get exponentially worse (and never ending) when large states weigh in.

    Isn't this one of the main arguments for the EU though, ie: that without it internecine conflict will return between individual states?

    It's the same idea as we need to unify the Kingdoms to stop wars between Scotland and England... or even between different English counties etc.
     
  22. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Well if people want a war so bad they're willing to put their hands in their own pockets there's little we can do about it. But if you want to wage a war which nobody really wants that bad and you can't take their money by force it does present a very significant barrier. Running from door to door trying to convince people to part with their cash for these types of things is likely to be a fruitless endeavour in my estimation...

    It's a barrier which is neatly hopped over by the ability to tax and borrow off the backs of the population. And in the absence of profitability it presents real opportunities to make crazy money for a select few. To wit -- Halliburton doesn't have 2 trillion. But if the people shoulder the investment, and therefor the risk, private security firms can just show up and collect the government contracts. It's a very sweet deal, and a huge transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
     
  23. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    So you've gone from 'tax enables war' to 'there's little we can do about it'....
     
  24. JohnConstantine

    JohnConstantine Active Member

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    Put it this way. If the war is popular enough, you won't need tax. Same goes for any idea and some wars are perfectly understandable -- you should defend yourself. Otherwise though, if you're trying to sell some bull-sh*t war to people who aren't buying it you'll need tax to make it economically viable.

    So... how many wars out of those in history are popular enough to be made possible without taxation? Even in cases where people pay tacit support for one invasion or another I'm betting they'd change their tune if it meant voluntarily having to part with cash.
     
  25. Reiver

    Reiver Well-Known Member

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    You don't have a logical spine to your argument. You've admitted that war an occur without taxation. You've acknowledged that countries with higher tax tend to have lower probabilities of warfare. And of course we know that tax is a crucial part of economic development (and economic development can further reduce the risk of conflict; compare, for example, civil war risks between developed and developing countries)
     

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