Guns, Caviar, and the Elusive Peace Incentive

March 28, 2008 at 7:19 pm (Free Market Capitalism, The War on Terror)

war-and-peace.jpgEver heard of the “guns-to-caviar index”? Here’s how it works….

To determine the effects of war on the economy, this index tracks the sales of fighter jets (which carry guns) and executive jets (which, apparently, carry caviar). Now, it has been universally true for as long as this data has been measured (seventeen years) that selling more fighter jets means selling less luxury jets, and vice versa. This has always meant that you couldn’t expect to have a booming economy in the midst of violence and instability.

Until now.

Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the sales of both kinds of jets began to rise at the same time. The meaning of this is obvious: The world is becoming more and more violent, and more and more profitable (at least for those who stand to gain from the waging of war).

And to make matters worse, the very people who stand to gain from war are those who have pushed us toward it in the name of “homeland security” and “fighting terror.”

Kind of makes you wonder where, in a market economy fueled by disaster capitalism, we can ever hope to find a strong enough incentive to maintain peace.



  1. Johnny T said,

    N. Klien again, huh?

    That book is buff. It makes a person feel like crap and makes the world seem savage. But at the same time, the awareness is part of the solution — though the knowledge ruins one’s bliss, it is welcome.

    Maybe the bliss-negating knowledge makes one aware of how much they believed in fairy tales, which really isn’t a good place to be in nor the kind of bliss one really wants.

  2. The Pundit said,

    Yeah, I just can’t stop quoting her. I did finish the book, finally, and so I may be able to move on to other topics at last.

    On the whole “ruining of one’s blissful belief in fairy tales” thing, to me it all seems a bit Orwellian. It’s like we just mindlessly parrot the official line about Oceania defeating Eurasia without ever stopping to wonder whether it’s really true.

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