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Empire as a Crucial Concept

Why is Empire such a crucial concept?  When you discover that military spending defines economic growth as precisely as I have, it quickly spreads to other topics.  That includes the finding that all Cold War elected presidents came from high military spending states.  When you realize the strong negative relationship between military spending and the whole national economy applies across the G7 countries precisely, and know that Toynbee found that 23 of 25 civilizations declined due to high military spending, Roman Empire comparisons start springing to mind.  Then you test the political finding by measuring the regional effect of military spending and find two different studies come up with 97% correlations.  Then you can reconcile the negative national correlation with the positive regional correlation by noting the economic destruction of regions that pay the military taxes in excess of the military benefits.  Thus the positive correlation is illusory, it comes from extorting one region to enhance another region.  The next question is why does so much social decay occur in declining empires?  So you test this on murder and crime statistics among four of the G7 countries and Sweden and you find another almost perfect correlation of .996.

Then Spirit Level comes out demonstrating that income inequality seems strongly related to a wide variety of social evils.  Then you test this against the empire cause, military spending levels, and find on ten key statistics that the correlation is much higher, .82 to .69, for empire over income inequality, and empire may in fact cause income inequality with a correlation of .77.  Since that correlation is closer to the average key social statistic with military spending than with income inequality, that also suggests empire as the prime cause.

Murder, Crime and Military Spending are 99.6% proportional internationally among the leading industrial nations.

In fact, the 22 states of the Southern United States are twice the murder and military spending rates of the 28 Northern United States.

This is especially true for the Nineteenth Century countries of Japan, Italy, Germany, and the United States.

For the 400 year old societies of England, France, Massachusetts, and Virginia, the murder rates are still proportional to the military spending rates, but at 40% of the level of the 150 year old countries.  So long civilization leads to less crime. R=.93

Thanks to data published in the 2009UK-2010US book The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, we see an interesting pattern among the developed nations.  That book presents graphs to support their case that income inequality is tied to many health and social problems. They create a nine factor health and social problems index that correlates about 88% with either military spending or income inequality.

However, when you compare military spending correlations with income inequality correlations for these nine factors side by side, there is about a 3% difference in favor of military spending as the strongest overall.  When you drop the three weakest correlations, where neither factor has any robust correlations and look at only the top six where military spending has six 75% or better correlations and income inequality has only three that strong, military spending has a 13% lead with an average correlation of 82% to the income inequality average of 69%.  Clearly, among the most relevant correlations, military spending has the stronger explaining power for:  prisoners (85 to 66); teen births (82 to 74); homicides (80 to 57); mental illness (79 to 74); and for obesity (75 to 52).

When it comes to football being the mean vicious and misogynistic sport of empire like the new Roman Gladiators, the fit seems to be there.  The military correlation with homicides (violence proxy) is robust (80) but the correlation with women’s status is only medium (53) if you drop the outliers of Italy and Japan.  United States women’s status is 57% of the level of Canada, Sweden and Denmark, while the homicide rate of those three countries is only 28% of the United States.  So vicious, yes, but misogynistic, only somewhat.

Overall, for military spending, the strongest factors are the economic ones, followed by the health and social problems, followed by the environmental factors.  The economic relationships with military spending are very strong indicating that all these relationships most probably begin with the economic relationship.

Incidently, the correlation between the military spending and income inequality is a robust .765 (Note, I’m using R not R2 for my percents)

For detailed Empire Economics power point:

Dr. Bob Reuschlein




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