” The United States in August and September began considering in earnest whether or not to become militarily involved in Syria. There are many tough and contentious questions about that decision, but one fact is undeniable: It would be expensive.
In a 2010 paper, Stephen Daggett of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service estimated the costs of all major U.S. wars expressed in contemporary dollars, from the American Revolution through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the caveat that comparing war costs over a 230-year period is “inherently problematic” because the definition of war has varied and official numbers have included and measured different things over time, and also “because of the difficulties in comparing prices from one vastly different era to another,” Daggett nonetheless concludes that the trend is clear: Wars aren’t cheap.
According to his estimates, the American Revolution cost $2.4 billion (all numbers are in constant FY2011 dollars), World War I cost $334 billion, World War II cost $4.1 trillion, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined have cost around $1.1 trillion and growing.
The price tag on the proposed intervention in Syria is unclear. According to a Congressional Research Service report published in September, “the cost of any military intervention could range widely depending on the type and length of U.S. military actions, the participation of U.S. allies, and Syrian and Syrian-allied responses.” Estimates range from $500 million initially to train, advise, and assist opposition forces in a safe area outside Syria, to as much as $12 billion dollars a year to use military force to establish either a no-fly zone that would prevent the regime from using its aircraft or a buffer zone to protect border areas next to Turkey or Jordan.
If history is any guide we can expect that direct military spending will be grossly underestimated.”
Grossly underestimated indeed … as with the costs of any government action.
” What are the benefits of product variety and how does trade affect variety? This video takes a closer look at how trade leads to variety for the consumer and higher productivity for the producer, too. This video also explains why consumers and producers can’t have exactly what they desire in a good by examining the trade-off between variety and average cost. You’ll also learn how the market manages the trade-off between variety and average cost via theories of monopolistic competition. ”
Check out Marginal Revolution for a wide variety of online courses to educate yourself in matters of economics , property rights , foreign policy , media , finance and much much more . You’ll be glad that you did .
Mercatus Center Policy Guide
” The Mercatus Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most pressing topics. It serves as a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Anyone who wants to go deeper into these studies should consult the references listed at the back. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your evaluation of economic policy.”
Our apologies to those who came expecting the usual morning laugh but today , May 8th , for Friedrich A Von Hayek’s birthday , we have chosen to honor him throughout our daily posts , thus we present for your enjoyment an animated biography of one of the world’s greatest thinkers .
Friedrich August Von Hayek: (1899-1992)
” This is a project of the famous free market economist Friedrich von Hayek who lived a very long time. Enjoy!
Created at http://goanimate.com/ ”
“ Peter Lewin posted some very interesting commentary of Richard Epstein’s distinguished scholar lecture at on-going Southern Economics Association (SEA) meeting. I had the opportunity to hear Epstein several years ago at the Association of Private Enterprise Education meeting and hardily agree with Peter’s assessment that “To hear Epstein talk is awe-inspiring. Hard to describe. Always without notes he delivers intricate, clever, funny, insightful prose without hesitation, seamlessly weaving his web of logic, backwards and forward, while making knockdown points.”
Distinguished Guest Lecture:
“The Implications of the Recent Election for Economic Freedom”
The University of Chicago
Friday, November 16th
” This afternoon I heard Richard Epstein talk on the implications of the recent election for the economy. He gave the annual distinguished scholar lecture as the SEA meetings. To hear Epstein talk is awe-inspiring. Hard to describe. Always without notes he delivers intricate, clever, funny, insightful prose without hesitation, seamlessly weaving his web of logic, backwards and forward, while making knockdown points. “
“Had he not passed away at the tender age of 92 in 1973, Ludwig von Mises would have turned 131 years old today(ed. note Sept 29th). In my humble opinion, he was the greatest social thinker of the twentieth century. In a series of breakthrough contributions like The Theory of Money and Credit, Socialism: An Economic And Sociological Analysis, Human Action (his magnum opus), and Theory and History–to say nothing of a series of smaller and no-less-insightful works like Bureaucracy and Omnipotent Government–Mises developed theories of economic growth and business cycles that are relevant today. One of the wonders of the modern world is that his major contributions are available to be perused or downloaded from the institute bearing his name or from the Liberty Fund. Today, anyone with access to an internet connection can access his works with little or no trouble. Anyone with a USB drive can carry his greatest works on a keychain.
The progress that made this possible wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t random. Indeed, this brings us to Mises’s greatest contribution: his demonstration that socialism cannot function as a rational economic system and that private ownership of the means of production is necessary if value is going to be maximized and waste is going to be minimized in the production process.”
An Economic Giant
” Friedman, indeed, is one of the few scholars whose receipt of the Nobel Prize in Economics – which he received in 1976 – did at least as much to bestow prestige on that award as that award did to bestow prestige on him. (The first Nobel
Prize in Economics wasn’t awarded until 1969.)
Friedman’s stupendous scholarly achievements alone justify commemoration of the centenary
of his birth. But at least as important as Friedman’s scholarship was his lucid and energetic public advocacy of limited government and free
markets. He explained with unmatched clarity how a modern economy’s complexities,nuances, and dynamism almost always thwart even the best-intentioned efforts by government officials to intervene into markets. “