What are the benefits of war?

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    War brings about innovation which a period of peace cannot replicate. The plain and simple fact is, people tend to be more risky when their lives are in danger. I mean, look at Tony Stark (Admittedly one of the worst examples one could think of). After being kidnapped by terrorists, by utilising the scarce resources he was provided and even endangering his life he built a revolutionary weapon which would later be used for further good. Innovative products which are a byproduct of war are often useful not just during, but after a war, often remaining important for many years to come. For example, the modern radar, a technology invented during WWII, continues to remain an important piece of technology which improves our daily live.

    War is also a good economic stimulant. Similar to the point above, people tend to be more productive when their lives are being threatened. This is also why rogue nations such as North Korea and the former communist Albania use war or the threat of war in order to make their populous be more productive. War is also profitable for big business as wartime consumption increases. WW1 was a driving factor concerning the process of America’s ascension to the top. However, it almost always kills the economies of belligerents during a war.

    War can also be a fight for the greater good. This point is kind of self-explanatory. Many wars take place to liberate oppressed or persecuted people. Countries also start wars to prevent negative influences and further oppression. The Korean War is a perfect example of this. Even though the war was technically a stalemate, if the US had not deployed its troops into the war to save the capitalist South Korea, we would most probably see a communist Korean Peninsula, with millions of innocent people oppressed. However, this point is subjective, and many wars take place to wreak more havoc.

    “What more do they want? She asks this seriously, as if there’s a real conversion factor between information and lives. Well, strange to say, there is. Written down in the Manual, on file at the War Department. Don’t forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals. The mass nature of wartime death is useful in many ways. It serves as a spectacle, as a diversion from the real movements of the War. It provides raw material to be recorded into History, so that children may be taught History as sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world. Best of all, mass death’s a stimulus to just ordinary folks, little fellows, to try ‘n’ grab a piece of that Pie while they’re still here to gobble it up. The true war is a celebration of markets. Organic markets, carefully styled “black” by the professionals, spring up everywhere. Scrip, Sterling, Reichsmarks, continue to move, severe as classical ballet, inside their antiseptic marble chambers. But out here, down here among the people, the truer currencies come into being. So, Jews are negotiable. Every bit as negotiable as cigarettes, cunt, or Hersey bars.”

    Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

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    Whether war results in peace or not is a debatable question and I wouldn’t go into that. However, there are some benefits that have been associated with wars (along with many severe drawbacks, of course), which go as follows:

    1. Economic benefits: A lot of economies have been known to flourish during wars, primarily because of a huge boost to the defense, arms and health-care industries.

    2. Social benefits: Wars have historically witnessed the liberation of oppressed people and the removal of oppressive and tyrannical regimes.

    3. Long-term benefits: Wars encourage extensive research and development, leading to technological progress. This progress continues to serve civilians long after the war is over.

    Having said all that, I must also mention that a few benefits at such a HUGE cost is rather unjustified.

    It is very rare that you get wars between two peoples that have democratically run governments.

    Generally wars involve one, or both, of the parties being ruled by a government that is not democratic – but instead is led by government under the control of some ideology. The aim is to spread this ideology – or occasionally defend it.

    Democratic governments normally negotiate to settle differences. Furthermore, as the government will usually include a range of different opinions it is much more difficult for a country to declare war that doesn’t take into account the wishes of the whole population. Even when this happens, sustaining a war can be difficult if a proportion of the population turns against the government – as happened with the USA and Vietnam. (USA=democracy. Vietnam = non-democracy / ideological government).

    In contrast governments led by dictators and/or ideology which are non-democratic can launch wars as there is less potential for opponents to express their opposition. If the aim is to spread the ideology, then the cost will not beed as important. Similarly if the aim is to conquer and gain resources, then the short-term cost is not important. It’s the long-term gain that counts.

    Sometimes a democratically ruled government will declare war against an ideologically ruled government. This is generally in attempt to prevent the spread of that ideology. An example is WW2 – where Britain declared war on Nazi Germany when all negotiations to stop Nazi expansion were proved futile. Another example is the 6-day war of 1967 – where Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, following the closure of the straights of Tiran by Nasser. (It could be argued that this was an example of Zionist ideology trying to expand territory – except that the bulk of this territory was given back, and Israel has stated that they are willing to give the rest back in return for a peace settlement with neighbours).

    The war can be started for many reasons.

    Since we are talking about business, then the goal is to win, of course.

    With that mindset, and being semi-reasonable (since it’s a war and is unreasonable in its human costs), the benefits of attacking first is to have time to prepare and to be unannounced (the element of surprise).

    Another benefit is to be able to preplan some of the outcomes and have a better strategic stand.

    The response from the other side can be either sporaditc of organized, yet organization will require time and resources – something that the responding side does not have, and this is the biggest advantage.

    The first attack (Russia–Ukraine Conflict (2014–present)) can also be made appear as lacking true aggression, yet persistence and watching a reaction from the allies would provide information whether this venture will work out or not: if allies are not forceful enough, it will be an easy takeover.

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    Social control

    As well as providing a means to obtain or secure external resources (invade somewhere that has the resources), war (or the threat of war) provides a justification for internal policies that would be unacceptable in peace time. A population may accepted rules and regulations that would seem ridiculous in peace time but with an external threat would be deemed acceptable.

    For example the degree of security checks you undergo at an airport would not be accepted if there was not a ‘war on terror’.

    Economic stimulation

    A number of countries rely upon sales of arms both internally and for export to drive a significant proportion of their economies. Without war or the threat of war, the spending on arms or the military would be reduced, so causing a decline in both employment and shareholder returns for those sectors. The US, UK and French economies rely to an extent upon the military industrial complex and the wars and social unrest that drive them.

    For example, with the recent unrest in the Arab states, as well as touring the region to ‘encourage democracy’ David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister also took with him a delegation of leading arms manufacturers to promote this British industry.

    Technology: Some medical, Industrial, and digital products come from war. Plastic surgery originated in WW1 when a surgeon had an idea to restore disfigured faces of soldiers after getting hit with artillery

    Industry in weapons generated better guns and bombs where planes were revolutionized to outfit modulations in design and power output where missiles and Jets were invented

    And the origin of the internet came from a military network that was supposed to be used for communication in a nuclear war called ARPANET, but transcribed to commercial tech on desktops in the 80s as well as GPS thanks to the military.

    Social: War has drastic social changes like the Civil war. Lincoln liberated the slaves by declaring the Emancipation Proclaimation with Douglass in order to weaken southern industry and make them surrender which cascaded into free blacks creating a Civil rights movement and eventual equality.

    Another is new countries forming. Countries like India and Australia gained independence after the British had too much to handle in WW2, monarchy fell out of power and replaced with a ministry which ended the Empire or Israel after the Holocaust and decision to establish land by a sympathetic relationship with Jews.

    War is also the act of force that keeps any negative entity projecting too much power.

    It makes money for people who own banks. War’s very expensive and realistically no-one can afford it without borrowing money and so countries will borrow money from banks to fund it. The banks aren’t worried, therefore, about who wins or loses and will lend to anybody because they win whatever the outcome. The banks, almost all of them privately owned, are a power in the world, one that cannot be defined by nation but a tremendous power nonetheless. If you read some of the articles at http://www.economania.co.uk you’ll come to understand that the banks don’t actually ‘loan’ money either, they create it. Consider then in this light their role in wars…

    There may be questions with more exact a context for this answer and I can’t find one. So here is a random list of the benefits (other then traditional war profiteering with bonds, politics and weapons) from wars:

    • One of the many many examples in recent times inflation in Syria hit a new low of 23.33% this week. Putin has steered the war in their favour.

    • Modernism*
    • Post-Modernism
    • Communism (not sure if t hat counts as a benefit)
    • Misc. Advances in technology, business administration and Medicine.

    *I mean, just see Ezra Pound’s poems.

    The benefits of war?

    It depends on the perspective.

    For those killed, wounded, orphaned, traumatized, there are no benefits.

    On national levels it’s a whole different matter. It becomes strategy.

    There can be benefits in the sense that sacrifices are made for the sake of national interests, or what is perceived as such.

    For those who lost their lives we hope it was for a better, more peaceful, future.

    Sadly that has rarely been the case.

    Thank you for asking, Onoriode.


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    Answer requested by

    It is the strange paradox of war that it is both destructive and progressive at the same time. Both World Wars, I and II forced the pace of development in, for example, science, technology, chemistry and medicine and led to improvements in the internal combustion engine, the jet engine, aircraft design and performance, radio and television and advances in antibiotics and medical and surgical techniques, the list is almost endless. Given time all these inventions and improvements would probably have occurred anyway but in war necessity is truly the mother of invention.

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