May 15, 2010

Yes, it does, to a very few. Perhaps I was one of them, for I worked for years designing military electronics. To the rest of us, it can only reduce our prosperity. War is destruction. Bullets, bombs, bombers, and warships use a lot of labor and materials, to kill and destroy, and be destroyed. All of this productive effort, labor, and material must be diverted from the civilian market and civilians must do without. Yes, in wartime everyone employable is employed, and making higher wages, but paying higher prices with the inflating currency. Everything is in short supply but money, so rationing doles out the limited supplies available. Real income is much reduced.
Certainly the men drafted into the armed forces have a much reduced lifestyle, with low pay and intervals of boredom, interspersed with plenty of violence, discomfort, danger, crippling injuries, and death.
When a nation takes action to make itself self sufficient, it should serve as a warning to other nations to expect an invasion. War is really the only reason for a nation to be self sufficient. Before World War 1 started, Germany stocked up on imported supplies, worked frantically to develop substitutes for critical materials, and then overran some adjacent territories which could supply some essential materials, “in order to be self sufficient”.
Specialization and trade bring us rich rewards, providing every person, city, state, and nation with things which others can produce better than they can. The wider the area of trade expands, the better off we all become. Self sufficiency can only reduce our wealth, because in each exchange, both parties profit. In the extreme case, where each person is self sufficient, trading with nobody else, we would again become hunter-gatherers, and most of us would starve to death, with those remaining living short lives in extreme hardship.


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