To End War

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by Gavik, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Gavik

    Gavik Registered Member

    This is a passage from General Smedley Butler's piece, War is a Racket. Well worth reading the whole thing, but here's the part I find most interesting.

    Please Note: Below the passage I will list several easily foreseeable counter arguments, so don't go responding right away with a typical partisan response or assume that I agree 100% with this.

    *And a note to our international posters, this thread will mostly be about America.

    Alright, straight to immediate concerns (no, I'm not copying this from some other site):

    -"The government doesn't have the right to limit income and profit like that." This is a very valid concern, and not just for conservatives. However, American wars driven by profiteering would never happen with this system. I 100% support the idea of imposing this on the politicians, but it might need some tweaking for industry. Obviously, the bills for war material production still need to be paid. However, I don't see that as necessarily in contrast to the effort to remove personal profit from war.

    -"If the profit and competition were removed, free enterprise would have no incentive to develop better technology to help win wars." If that's true, then the defense contractors that spend billions to advertise their patriotism don't deserve to be in the country.

    -"This requires a draft." Yes, part of it is dependent on a draft. And this may be out of character for a pacifist, but I support the idea of bringing back the draft. Of course, for war time only. If the war is not vital to the survival of the nation, then those affected by the draft would vote no on the war.

    -"You can't end war. People will always be violent. This isn't possible in modern America." Then there is no hope. Give up on life. Of course there will always be conflict, as the causes of conflict - scarcity and ignorance - will almost certainly remain with humanity. And no, I don't believe the implementation of such a plan is feasible right now, nor would it be compatible with a lot of other aspects about modern America, but that doesn't make it a bad idea.

    It's not a perfect idea, and the specifics need major tweaking, but I believe the General was on the right track.
     

  2. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Some issues I see with this -

    At least the way the military works now, there's a fairly wide range of pay. An E-1 with less than 2 years of service makes $1447 per month. An E-7 with over 16 years experience makes $3970 per month (I get the impression that E-7s still readily see combat duty. I'm less sure when you get much higher than that). So would the factory owner make $17364 per year? Or $47640? (Technically, those numbers are higher for Combat pay, and they're tax free for the soldiers in combat, and soldiers also get Basic Allowance for Housing sometimes). Would the factory owner then get access to the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance? That's an important financial incentive soldiers get. Of course, many CEOs already have a Masters (or more), so maybe they get the equivalent in pay? And what about the signing bonuses that soldiers get - which vary from year to year, and vary depending on what your military job is? How do you handle that?

    Would we impose these restrictions of industry on all military spending? Look at Boeing - if we only impose it during wartime, they'll just make most of the fighter jets before we get into the war. If you impose those restrictions all the time, then many companies would suffer drastically. Boeing still makes civilian planes. But I read an article recently about a mom & pop type store near Ft Lewis that did uniform alterations/sewing/etc. They went out of business (ironically in large part because of the war - a lot of their customers were overseas). Small businesses can be risky enough as it is; limiting their profits so drastically could cripple them.

    Also, it seems likely that lowering the maximum profits just means that they would make less planes/ammo/etc. They would charge the same amount per plane, but would just have to stop selling planes once they'd reached their legal maximum. So then what would the military do?

    The problem with voting for the war is that voting tends to take a long time. It would still be a matter of politicians trying to sell the war to the soldiers. And what happens if the soldiers agree to the war at first, but later want to back out? Would there be some system for a later vote? And what if we back out too soon, as a result, leaving a country destabilized?

    BTW, I don't think this would require a draft.

    Overall, I think I like the concepts, but I'm not sure if it's feasible.
     
  3. Gavik

    Gavik Registered Member

    No idea, and that's why the specifics are shaky when they're even present. Perhaps an average of enlisted mens' salary, though to be honest specific wages isn't a huge issue right now.

    Presumably no, since they own the factories already. It's meant to bring the effects of war directly to them, not simply pay everyone the same.

    A government that would adopt this policy would most likely have a very small peace time defense budget, so far fewer planes/other war things would be ordered.

    The solutions are aimed at large industry. America is broke largely due to a military industrial complex that pushes overpriced, unnecessary weapons on their bought and paid for politicians. Small businesses such as what you described would be an exception as they have no such influence.

    The cost of manufacturing would still be paid in full by the government. However, the price of the weapons would be sold for just a fraction above whatever it cost to produce since only profits would be cut.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this scenario seems to relate to an Gulf War 2 style war. If this system worked, such wars would never be waged to begin with. Only wars of pure defense - cases where an organized army launches an attack against the country.

    It's a mechanism that would force people to be directly involved and care.
     
  4. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Well, depending on how the law was put into effect, people would find loopholes.

    Is there some way to prevent some companies from just creating small sub-companies, as a loophole? Or to prevent them from suing over what seems like a very illegal practice?

    But since the maximums are against their profit per month/year/whatever, they would just charge full price and make less of them, rather than charge a reduced price and make less profit per unit.

    Not necessarily - soldiers might back out for other reasons, such as if they feel it's not going well, or drags on too long, or whatever.

    A draft might be helpful, but I don't think it's necessary.
     

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