THE ROOT CAUSES OF WAR
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The growing power of the military-industrial complex is a new and especially dangerous addition to the economic causes of war. It reflects an economic crisis that goes even deeper than those of the past. In addition to the cyclical depressions and the shrinkage of foreign markets, there is a new imbalance in the entire structure of capitalism. There is an enormous increase in financial speculation and short-term profit schemes. The military-industrial complex has risen to become the dominant sector of the American economy because through the aid of state subsidies it generates the greatest short-term profits. Never mind if the U.S. government goes into debt to banks and other financial institutions in order to pay for military spending. The world of financial speculation does not worry about tomorrow. Not only does this "military spending solution" endanger the security of the planet, but it also increases the risk of a major financial collapse and subsequent depression.
To summarize, we may point to the following causes of American wars over the past century: 1) cyclical crises of overproduction and unemployment, 2) exploitation of poor colonial and neo-colonial countries by rich imperialist countries, 3) economic rivalry for foreign markets and investment areas by imperialist powers, 4) the attempt to stop the shrinkage of the "free world" - i.e. the part of the world that is free for capitalist investment and exploitation, and 5) financial speculation and short-term profit making of the military-industrial complex.
In the 1985 edition of this book the argument was made that the socialist countries were escaping from the economic causation of war. In comparison to the capitalist countries, they did not have the same dynamic of over-production and cyclical depression, with periods of enhanced structural unemployment. As for exploitation and imperialism, despite the frequent reference in the American media to "Soviet imperialism," the direction of the flow of wealth was the opposite of what holds true under capitalist imperialism. Instead of the rich nations extracting wealth from the poor ones, which is the case, for example between the U.S. and Latin America, the net flow of wealth proceeded from the Soviet Union towards the other socialist countries in order to bring them towards an eventually even level of development. According to an authoritative source associated with the U.S. military-industrial complex, the net outflow from the Soviet Union amounted to over forty billion dollars a year in the mid-1980's.
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