War Is A Racket

It is a bold and engaging idea that we are manipulated into war by big business. It follows the view that the government is controlled by big business and made to serve their interests. It sees foreign policy as enforcing American economic dominance upon the world. The idea is that weapons manufacturers encourage war solely to make bigger profits. It is known as ‘The Devil Theory Of Imperialism’ or more simply in the statement that ‘War Is A Racket’.

Let’s say you’re a weapons manufacturer. Like any capitalist business your aim is to maximise profits. In order to do this you increase demand for your products, which in this case is guns. To do this you encourage war. This is done by funding interest and advocacy groups as well as politicians. War breaks out and you make a fortune. There is the side effect that thousands or millions may die, but what does that matter to a heartless capitalist?

There are numerous examples that could be used to support the case. America intervened in Guatemala in 1954 to protect the interests of United Fruit banana company. It overthrew the President of Iran in 1953 who was threatening the oil industry. The dictatorship of Batista in Cuba was supported due to the influence of the sugar industry and Castro opposed for similar reasons. President Allende of Chile was overthrown in 1973 with support from American Telegraph company ITT. These would be used as proof that America intervenes in order countries solely to protect business interests, that the US military acts as private security for big business. Some would argue the war in Vietnam was encouraged by the war industry to make profits. Others claim the war in Iraq was started to gain access to oil, not to promote democracy.

There are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, war is bad for most businesses. Most businesses run the risk of being destroyed from bombing or if they are invaded. Their workers may be conscripted or killed. It is quite likely that their business will suffer as consumers have less money. So in fact, most businesses would probably oppose war. This would mean there would only be support for a war far away that the country is highly likely to win. This is why only America shows signs of this theory, but not European countries (at least not this century). After all, French businesses have a good chance of being destroyed in a war, whereas the American mainland is very safe.

The theory is not conclusive. After all, if it did hold true, then why has there not been a Third World War? The examples given above are quite small countries. They also happened a long time ago, so it is possible that if the theory once applied, it does not now. Perhaps it is a Cold War theory that is no longer relevant. The argument is essentially Communist, blaming war on greedy capitalists. There is no need to explain that communist theories have not shown themselves to be correct in most cases. It is also a small step from saying a small elite cause war to make profits, to saying a small Jewish elite. In fact this was an argument used in Nazi Germany.

Perhaps it is a theory with a grain of truth at some times and in some places, but not an overarching theory of international politics.

(Update: Sorry to everyone from Reddit who is seeing this post. It was written when I first established the blog and as you can tell the writing style is very basic. I winced myself at the ridiculously short sentences and the lack of follow through. Best to just focus on the video and the theory itself)

8 thoughts on “War Is A Racket”

  1. “If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.” ~ Wilfred Owen

    Really interesting blog, fairly done too! I tend to think it is a racket, still. That those who wrap themselves in the flag (Nationalism) are the most dangerous of all, because they would imperil everyone for that vain glory that is a lie, Dulce et Decorum est, Pro patria mori.”.

    1. I got a prize for an essay I wrote on that poem, at school! Damnit, it still brings a lump to my throat reading it, too.

      (Just don’t ask how long ago that was. Ahem.)

  2. There can never be peace with war.
    There can only be peace through peace.
    War only gives those who we are fighting against an excuse to fight.
    Every time an innocent person dies in Gaza is the power we give to the terrorists. The power of propaganda for the terrorists to control others through fear and anger.
    What if we take the high road and stop war?
    What excuse will the terrorist tell their people and their family?
    If we take the high road the terrorists will be seen for who they truly are.
    If we keep warring we are no better than they are and in their eyes we are worse the same way they are worse in our eyes.

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