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December 09, 2013


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Correct me if Im wrong but in 1914 there were approximately 6 billion less people on earth. That would seem important?
Duck Dynasty, had to Google that since my TV watching is limited to maybe 2 hrs of PBS at a friends house. So the show is about Sarah Palin and a bunch of bearded Daniel Boone types hunting racoons in the backwoods of Republican country. I am not up on this global subject Jon, so other than a congress that might pay attention what else you think might help. More NRA members with AK47's

Immigration and Globalization?
Maybe we can get Joe a transfer.
Build that darn fence.

Re: "Meanwhile, today's America is exhausted by more than a decade of needless wars." I'd say more like a 150 years on senseless wars. WWI maybe the most senseless of the bunch.

War is the nature of man?
I carry a loud image in my head of the prehistoric man in the opening of the movie 2001, as he picks up the large bone and it "dawns" on him that it can be used to kill.
Maybe I will put on "Quest for Fire" in my VHS player, tonite. The Fire Next Time may reduce the human population to ragtag cave men fighting with bones.

As someone who is in Asia on a regular basis for the last 40 years I have seen the memories and hatreds of the last century fade into the background for most of Asia as the generations pass.

It is tragic to see governments in Asia whipping up the old hatreds in order to get the populace to support them and protect them from foreign interest.

Our feckless State Department and the lack of any real discernible foreign policy is hurting us badly.

Our military is hurting from 12 years of non stop combat. It needs badly to be replenished. We can only afford that necessity if we gather the will for massive reforms of the DOD and it's massive bureaucracy.

A great start would be to cut the number of flag officers by at least half since their numbers have doubled in the last 15 years while the size of our forces continued to shrink.

We could lose 50% of our civilian workforce and get more done than we do today.

That reform also must include base closures that will allow huge savings in overhead cost.

Sadly, I see none of the above on the horizon. Instead we are choosing to kick our dedicated warfighters to the curb in massive numbers while we retire our equipment fleets. (sigh)

You are right Jon, we might just manage to slouch our way into WWIII.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"As Den Xioping well knew, a strong military flowed from a strong economy, not vice versa."

I'll play devil's advocate and disagree on this one. Militarization builds up the manufacturing sector, provides jobs, and increases demand. All of that increases economic health.

Italy and Germany were both hit hard by the Great Depression. Both used militarization to great effect to bootstrap their economies. Much of the Soviet Union's heavy industry revolved around military expenditures. The United States did not recover full employment (or anything close to it) until it ramped up military spending on the eve of WW II.

Obviously, military spending is not the only way to do this. The vast increase in U.S. manufacturing capacity which was necessary for militarization during WW II was converted to civilian use afterwards, when the U.S. became the center of world consumer manufacturing. Theoretically, there is no reason why the middle step (militarization) could not be skipped.

War is not the same as militarization and because of the loss of infrastructure and labor that often occurs, is far less certain to be "good for the economy" than industrial activity created by the military sector.

Japan brought the United States into the Second World War for one reason: its expansionist military policy required oil; it had previously bought roughly 80 percent of its oil from the United States; in response to Japan's military expansion and war crimes in Manchuria, FDR cut off the sale of oil to Japan. After that, Japan had two choices: cease its expansionist policies, or seize the resources it needed by force. It chose the latter.

China is in a different position because its economy is based so strongly on consumer exports. If and when that changes and China's domestic demand becomes sufficient to sustain growth, this will remove an important moderating influence on its behavior.

If China's economy flags sufficiently and its pollution problems go unaddressed, the Communist Party will face serious unrest and political challenges. War against an external enemy would be one way to rally a divided and dissatisfied population. But that is an extreme case and the conditions do not currently exist.

Off topic, but interesting: atomic artillery. This video shows the scale of the howitzer (and by implication the smallness of the shell) very early on, as soldiers prepare it for firing. (The shell was less than a foot in diameter.) The yield is 15 kilotons which I believe is the same as the Hiroshima bomb. Amazing. The shell flew a little over six miles before detonating.

Additional background and video here:

Just try to find a cave painting of men killing, or even fighting, other men. Warfare is not inate to man.

I have heard that before. Maybe Kubrick just made it up.

Hey, I love Kubrick (and A.C. Clarke,) but postulations about the nature of early man reveal more about the proposers, and their moments in time, than they do about Early Man.

"2001" was made at the peak of belief in American ("human") Exceptionalism and so when they looked backwards into the telescope of history of course they found snarly and retrograde version of ourselves, having "progressed" into genteel Modern Man (yes, I'm snickering) on our way into the conquering of the Universe, as it all should be.

Petro, Speaking of Movies and books, we need to meet. How about the 21st and if AZREB and electicdog and Thomas can make it we will name a place other wise I pick you up and we can drink the black glue.

Perhaps I should add that there is nothing magical about military spending per se. Amounts are important.

In the United States, the unemployment rate (annual average) remained stubbornly stuck at or above 15 percent through 1940. Federal spending never reached 11 percent of GDP during that time and federal deficit spending (important for Keynesian economics) never reached 6 percent.

By 1942 federal spending as a percentage of GDP topped 24 percent and federal deficit spending topped 14 percent of GDP. By 1943 these figures reached 43 percent and 30 percent of GDP, respectively.

By 1942 the unemployment rate had been reduced to about 5 percent and by 1943 it was down near zero.

This spending created a lot of manufacturing jobs and other war-related jobs.

Incidentally, can anyone tell me whether FDR's job program hiring (direct employment) was counted in unemployment statistics? That is, were individuals hired through federal work programs counted as employed for statistical purposes?

10-4 on the 21st, cal.

War is inevitable because the only time you can get conservatives to loosen the purse strings is when it's for war.

Hence the 'progress' made during times of war.

The ape in 2001 who smashed another ape with a bone was not the first ape to think of it, but the first one to think of it and then follow through.

That's why you will find a disproportionate number of psychopaths in politics and in the boardroom.

Eclectic dog, {War is not innate to man” I destroyed your theory last nite, it came to me you were wrong as I watched Bar Fly with Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. Images of the cave man waving the bone danced through my head thought the nite (as opposed to sugar plums). Man just needs to fight.
I liked Emils points on this issue and to me it seemed he logically makes his case. However “War is not the same as militarization and because of the loss of infrastructure and labor that often occurs, is far less certain to be "good for the economy" than industrial activity created by the military sector.” Here I see a cycle that is driven by mans “needs”. “It’s the Economy Stupid” Build up the military, destroy a lot of things, rebuild them, build up the military, well U know. (And maybe Rourke’s theory)
And for Petro, I think we can look to Asimov’s Foundation for the psychological theory on war. And of course for Logic we can look to Susan Calvin.

For your weekend reading: Not recommended for prohibition crusaders.

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