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Peace Economics First Book

In January 1986 I returned from my first radio, TV, and newspaper interviews out of state and began writing THE book. By now I had proven the concept the proverbial six ways to Sunday, as Harold Bock, a political colleague of mine later paraphrased, and another political friend,  Frank Arundel, let me write the book on his MacIntosh in the basement of one of his rentals in Eugene, Oregon.  I knew it had to be 50 pages to be considered a book, so I wrote 50 large 8.5” by 11” pages.  I started with Sivard’s international comparison over nineteen years.  The raw correlation was 0.81, robust.  Dropping the obvious outlier, Canada, the correlation jumped to a near perfect 0.98.  Next I combined the nations, weighted average by continents.  The continents of North America and Europe with Japan a third, with two degrees of freedom, left a stunning correlation of 0.997, a perfect 1.00 to two decimal points.  Canada was no longer an outlier, at 10% the economy of the US; it was pulled down by US militarism, while the US was slightly lifted up by Canada.  In Europe, the farthest two nations from the tradeoff line were France, lifted up by EU agriculture subsidies, and Britain, weighted down by exclusion from EU until the last four years of the nineteen year period.  The process of amazing corollaries springing up from the uncanny accuracy had begun.  Eventually I got used to it and starting beginning to expect it, but this took a long time to get over the stunning accuracy.  More lessons emerged from Sivard’s capital investment and military spending study three years after the first.  A 0.993 correlation resulted and I began to recognize military spending as lost capital as well as wasted manufacturing.  Seymour Melman thought the weapons production was the lost manufacturing, but this data was showing that military spending “as a whole” was a kind of factory with an output lost to the consumer economy and used instead for political power projection.  That was the only way it all made sense as I saw it.  The book had sixteen chapters, some only one page, as I did not want to leave out important concepts even if sketchy at first.

I had help with the title.  I wrote a long list of possible titles and read them one by one over the phone to the initial Costco marketing genius, my friend, Frank Arundel.  When I came to “peace economics” he said “that’s it” and we settled on that name.  I knew the horrible term “economic conversion” needed to be replaced for two reasons.  One was that no one wants a religious person on their doorstep trying to convert them.  The other was that converting military factories over to other purposes is rarely successful.  Letting the engineers scientists and capital seek other opportunities works much better and smoother, and is better for the economy.  Besides, the historical record suggests it happens immediately and automatically in today’s capitalistic economy, so there is no need to try and do it the hard way.  Only in rare cases is the reduction too much for the economy to swallow immediately, such as the period 1990-1992 when unemployment increased.  Normally unemployment decreases with lower military spending such as 1993-1999, and increases with higher military spending such as in 1982.

I took Kinko’s copies of the book used to file the copyright and sold them in WashingtonDC at a Rainbow Coalition Convention in April 1987.  A man from American Government Employees Union bought one on credit for $20 (when I visited him in his office after the conference) and never paid me.  I visited Ruth Leger Sivard on her doorstep in Georgetown and left her with a shocked look on her face as I was leaving; telling her that all Cold War elected presidents came from high military spending states.

So I slightly reduced the book to 48 pages for a web press paperback edition at $800 for 5000 copies.  At a cost of just 15 cents each I could sell or give away as I pleased.  The first sales were in Eugene’s AltonBakerPark on Hiroshima Day 1986.  I sold maybe a dozen or two that day to eager Peaceniks who knew of me from my many activities in the area.  Later excited readers told me how they had sent copies off to this institute or that, or Senator Kennedy, or others.  The next year I ran into an academic at a BostonCollege institute I visited who was convinced he had actually heard of me somehow.  I kept the price a reasonable two dollars.  In later years I developed the practice of selling for $5 in off election years and often giving them away in election years.  I sold maybe 2000, gave away another 2000 and have several hundred left.  I now sell the pdf of the book for $10.  The rest will be collectors’ items someday soon.

Here is the modern 24 page updated booklet for the twenty-fifth anniversary DVD of Peace Economics, free on my academic website:

Dr. Peace, Dr. Bob Reuschlein  608-230-6640

OR here is the kiosk commentary link (for audio click orange arrow at bottom of listing):


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