[quote author=“rogerflat”]War is irational from the perspective of everyone as a whole. It only servers to destroy life and property. However, within certain systems (like the U.S. economy) it can be useful. The war in Iraq has cost 400 billion thus far. That is a huge economic stimulus. Remember that it is being funded with taxpayer money which goes right back out into the war time economy…and generally to U.S. arms manufacturers. So it is profitable in that respect.
Also, this war has allowed the US to secure oilfields which it can then prevent from being destroyed, thus preventing price surges for scarcities of oil.
But if you value life over economics then it is irational.
One mistake you are making is something called the broken window fallacy. The economic stimulus caused by war would happen just as well without war. The money the government spends on war would instead be spent in other ways, producing the same amount of stimulus to the economy. Only then it would be put to more productive use.
Broken window fallacy: Looking at immediate visible consequnces, and ignoring seconday consequences.
A punk throws a rock through the window of a bakery. A crowd gathers and someone observes that this isn’t all bad. The baker now has to buy a new window, and that is more business for the glass maker. The baker is forced to spend more money, putting that money into circulation, stimulating the economy of the whole town. What they fail to observe is somethign that doesn’t happen. Because the baker had to spend that money to buy a new window, it wasn’t available to buy more flour to bake bread. Or, if the baker is making enough profit that he didn’t need that money for flour, he would have bought himself a new coat, which would have been more business for the tailor. The money would still have been spent, producing the same economic stimulus to the town. People can see the new window being installed, and the money the Baker pays the glass maker, because that is what happens. They cannot see with their own eyes what the baker would have spent the money on is the window hadn’t been broken, because that never comes into being.
This is paraphrased from memory from Henry Hazlitt’s book Economics in One Lesson