Michael Schaus

Full body shiver… I really loath the sentence I’m about to type. In fact, I hate it so much, I’ve retyped it almost a dozen times; and there is no better way of articulating the disturbing truth: Paul Krugman was right.

Okay. I’ve showered. Also, I have slept on this thought. And yet, it’s still haunting me. The Left’s most adored “economist”, who has managed to turn being wrong into a career option, actually stumbled across a small kernel of truth in an otherwise typically inarticulate column. The King-of-Keynes managed to write a completely, and unavoidably, coherent thought last week. I now have reason to believe that if you give a typewriter to a room full of monkeys, they will eventually type the work of Shakespeare.

In a column published in the New York Times on August 17th, Krugman wrote at length about the folly of Putin’s interest in overthrowing the pro-western Ukrainian government. Almost every war of the 20th century, Krugman points out, made no economic sense whatsoever. The general point articulated isn’t enough to merit a Nobel Peace Prize; but it is borderline insightful. Wait… Don’t rush to sign me up for Code Pink just yet… I still have a few thoughts on this topic; and, unlike our loveable progressive hack over at the New York Times, my points are not the amalgamation of anti-war clichés.

Pondering why wars still happen, despite the obvious cost in lives and treasure, Krugman begins his pontification with a quick (albeit half-blind) trip through history:

Once upon a time wars were fought for fun and profit; when Rome overran Asia Minor or Spain conquered Peru, it was all about the gold and silver. And that kind of thing still happens.

I don’t know that “fun” was a huge factor when Caesar was conquering Gaul… Heck, I’m not even sure that profit was a driving motive. Many generals (such as Caesar) fought to buy the loyalty of the army, so that they might have a little momentum in their hostile trek back across the Rubicon. (The die is cast!) But still; Krugman made a decent point. In days of yesteryear (I actually crafted this whole sentence around that phrase) war could be quite beneficial, financially speaking, to an emerging empire.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

Get the best of Townhall Finance Daily delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Townhall Finance!