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Archive for the month “December, 2015”

Peace Economics for Animals

The animal kingdom is often thought of in terms of law of the jungle or dog eat dog, as an inherently vicious place.  Nothing could be further from the truth in my personal experience.  Amazing acts of self-sacrifice for the good of the whole are everywhere.  Cooperation seems much more important than competition, just as research on humans suggests.

Overall

Starting with humans, my best parable of peace economics is the rowing boats story.  Imagine the Cold War as an economic race among societies of nine person boats. The Japanese boat has eight rowers and one holding a sword.  The European boat has five rowers and four holding swords.  The American boat has two rowers and seven holding swords.  So guess who will win the economic race?  Those with the most rowers will quickly pass those with the most swords.  Another human example is the major wars.  These are usually between the number one economy and the number two economy, a battle to determine the peck order of societies not unlike many examples in animal herds.  Who will be the top dog?  Sometimes while the top two are fighting it out, a third emerges from the overlooked multitude.  With Britain and France fighting for supremacy, Germany emerged with the lowest military spending and the best school system in the late nineteenth century.  Germany entered both world wars with the strongest economy in Europe, losing to an even less militarized society from overseas, America.  America had built up its economic strength with low military spending isolated from strong rivals by two oceans.  Early Britain and early Japan also had off-continent protection from land armies in their respective emergences.

Squirrels

Feeding the squirrels teaches one instant peace economics lesson.  When they all pursue eating separate piles of sunflower seeds, all prosper.  But sometimes a squirrel tries to hog the seeds for itself.  The squirrel chases away another squirrel peacefully eating.  Then while they are busy chasing away another squirrel, along comes a third squirrel that gets the food.  That’s a case of violence only holding the perpetrator and victim back.

Blue Jays

My strategy with peanuts in the shell is to first set out sunflower seeds to occupy and distract the squirrels.  Then the blue jays can get the peanuts.  The first blue jay to see the pile of peanuts will call out to the community the event to let other blue jays know about the find, a marvelous example of community cooperation.  Sometimes a blue jay will try to fend off others, but this is rare.  Instead, they usually wait their turn, only swooping down to pick a peanut up after the other has flown away.  Blue jays usually take their peanuts up to a tree branch and break into it and eat it right away.  Sometimes they take too much time picking the right peanut, and along comes a squirrel to scare them away.  Sometimes a squirrel tries to hog the peanuts and eat one after another.  Then the blue jays will buzz that squirrel until it leaves.  But usually squirrels behave themselves and take one peanut at a time and hide it somewhere on the property.  This may be a communal endeavor, since the same squirrel may happen upon another squirrel’s hidings, so many benefit from the common endeavor.

Turkeys

Turkeys like to congregate, they are very communal.  They sleep in trees.  When they fly up in the evening or down in the morning, this may be the only flying they usually do.  They cluster together until all are down, before someone leads the way to an eating spot for the day.  They often break down into small groups, seven is a good number.  Groups of four usually have a sentinel set aside to watch the big picture for the group while the other three busily eat.  This sentinel behavior can happen in trees.  Many cluster on one tree, up to six per tree roughly, then a few are outliers to help watch over the big group.  Like squirrels and blue jays, sometimes one will chase another around in circles, but this is usually rare and isolated.  Jane Goodall has witnessed war in chimpanzees, so the concept of enemies can clearly exist in the same species.

Raccoons and Possum and Bunnies

The raccoons are more intelligent, so they have more complicated relationships. While the cardinals are the most family oriented, with the male often feeding the female, the raccoons have mothers with no father in sight. Old friends and relations may bump noses in delight to see one another.  When a crowd of bullies shows up to stop the eating of one of our favorites, we can chase them away with a broom and they figure it out immediately, learning to leave the family friend alone in the future.  Once a possum and a raccoon hung around together for several nights, showing up to eat together.  Bunnies are usually fearless, even if a raccoon or possum snarls at them.  After a while they just ignore the bunnies.  Bunnies keep their distance from humans with much less skittishness than squirrels. Squirrels know we are benefactors, yet they run away instinctively, but return quickly if they trust us.  One bunny lay on its back on the pavement in the summertime looking dead, but got up in disgust when we disturbed it.  You can get quite close to bunnies before they run, especially if you are not threatening.  Bunnies are fearless in the snow, whereas others will lay low for a while before attempting to travel.

Summary

Fighting leads to lost resources and opportunities both in human and animal societies.  Cooperation is much more beneficial for both humans and animals, as I learned through many pleasurable hours of observation of the wildlife around me.

Here is my best short list of human domestic effects of military spending:

https://www.academia.edu/12755188/DOMESTIC_Military_Effects_list_of_10_p.1_2014

Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on academia.edu.

Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,

Real Economy Institute, Madison,Wisconsin

CONTACT: bobreuschlein@gmail.com

INFO: http://www.realeconomy.com

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Low Level Military Defense

 

National defense is often simplified to the level of “too much defense and you lose only money, too little defense and you lose the nation.”  However, this assumes that the first part of that statement is true.  Actually, too much defense leads to lower economic growth, gradually weakening the nation and making it more and more vulnerable over time.  This is what I call “premature militarization.”  So when a nation lets paranoia get the better of them and over prepares for military defense, the result can bring on the situations most feared.  Wisdom lies in minimizing the military during peacetime to allow the economy to grow enough to be sure to have the largest economy when and if you must go to war.  Without a significant, defined as two to one, economic advantage over your enemy, it is very likely that the war will go on for a long time without a decisive advantage to either side. The two World Wars and the Iran Iraq War are good examples of these tendencies.  The Germans had more than twice the Russian economy in World War I and twice the French economy in World War II, otherwise could not defeat powers with more than half their economic strength.  Only when the US entered with twice the economy of German was able to swing the balance against Germany in each war.

Domestic Effects and Crime

An overly militarized society not only suffers from lower economic growth, it also suffers from higher rates of crime and murder.  In fact, an overly militarized society usually produces more domestic deaths due to the higher military spending than overseas soldier deaths prosecuting foreign wars.  Highly militarized societies are more likely to get into wars, and loss of civil liberties also correlates with high military spending.  Empire decay and paranoia set in with a high military society and politicians take advantage of the crony capitalism of the military budget and the historical glory that attaches to war presidents.  Too many swing states have high levels of military spending making it very hard to reduce spending levels to a more prudent level.  Often militarism severely impacts health of a population.  Economic, social, and political rigidity sets into a society with prolonged levels of high military spending.  Wars narrow the vision of a society.  States that benefit from a military buildup develop out of control real estate markets and the corruption of military spending corrupts the civilian economy as well, as phony mortgages are bundled together with good and sold on Wall Street as AAA.  Military money is doled out on the basis of politics instead of merit. The drain on manufacturing is ignored as trade treaties offer a cover story to blame the bad economy on, ignoring the fact that trade treaties did not stop the manufacturing economy from growing when military spending was lowered at the end of the Cold War for a decade.

Here is a list of ten domestic military effects:

https://www.academia.edu/12755188/DOMESTIC_Military_Effects_list_of_10_p.1_2014

Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on academia.edu.

World’s Policeman

The main pentagon justification for high military spending and hundreds of bases all over the planet is to secure access to resources worldwide.  But countries like China have secure access to resources worldwide without those markers of empire.  Looking at China as a main rival ignores their monopoly on key minerals necessary to a modern economy.  How could we prosecute a war against them without ruining our own economy and our military supply line?  Today’s fragile and interdependent world economy could not stand a major war between the major powers today.  Increasingly, the carrot is more powerful than the stick.  While opinion polls in America suggest abhorrence of war fighting in Asia, fears are way too easily ginned up with any number of incidents that pale compared to common traffic accidents and numerous other ways to die domestically.  So wars, easily started, continue going out of fear of admitting a mistake. Former intelligence officers going into journalism help keep alive the fallacy of the so-called realistic school of foreign policy. Wars and covert operations that scar millions worldwide provide easy kindling for the next round of wars.  We miss the wisdom of getting off the continual merry-go-round of collateral damage horrors only leading to more horrors later on.  Propping up dictators for temporary advantage only builds up resentments in the underlying populations.  Installing dictators makes things even worse.  The families of drone attack victims may harbor grudges against us for generations to come.

Defense Strategy

The key to an effective defense strategy is to take a long term view of matters.  Historically the major wars come along about every 54 years, yet we keep playing the short term game of wasting our resources on minor wars as the economic problems at home keep multiplying. Having a light footprint worldwide with fewer bases and less covert operations keeps us out of trouble, and allows regional associations to more responsibly solve the world’s problems.  A UN force of 50,000 troops could control consensus evils like ISIS but only if local forces can occupy the terrain once seized.  In Syria, the moderate forces and the Kurds could provide the ground forces to maintain the peace together with partitioning to allow the Russians to maintain bases and control in the capital and port region important to Assad’s Alawites.

Here is a more detailed seven page analysis of how to choose a defense strategy knowing high military spending weakens a country over time:

https://www.academia.edu/4475604/DEFENSE_STRATEGY_Chapter_Peace_Economics_7_p

Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on academia.edu.

Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,

Real Economy Institute, Madison,Wisconsin

CONTACT: bobreuschlein@gmail.com

INFO: http://www.realeconomy.com

MESSAGE: 608-230-6640

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