“Be where your enemy is not.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War. In modern business terminology we call this “First mover advantage” this is one of the many quotes that apply equally on war and business. In fact ask anyone in the business world what the best ever business book is and the answer will be a no brainer “The Art of War.” History is loaded with examples on the strong and tight correlation between war and economy; it is very evident that the only thing that propelled the economy forward and pushed industry were times of war and that times of peace were harmful for the economy.
Since the time of the Pharaohs and if you track every civilization that reigned, whenever they stopped waging wars someone else waged a war on them and took over and another people prospered and another culture shone. Some of the greatest inventions that we enjoy nowadays were created because of war; take the internet for example which was created by the US military in the 60’s as a method of exchanging military information safely without falling in the hand of the Russians. Today the internet can be called the corner stone of our lives and almost everything related to us is on it.
Perhaps the 20th century and namely the USA provide the biggest proof to my point of view. At the turn of the century, the USA was still the new country that no one was really very interested in and Europe was still the beating heart of the world. The continent which had been in a constant state of partial war since the middle of the 19th century was the power center of the world and was still enjoying the effects of the industrial revolution. Then came WWI and the USA was still on the side until they suffered the longest and worst depression ever for 10 straight years and they were only saved by the break of WWII which put them in the spotlight right away. During that era, the American industry peaked out and there was excessive demand for US products and the USA witnessed a wealth and growth period like never before. Even the German economy was thriving during WWII and employment was at 0 rates and government spending was uncontrollable and no one questioned where and why the money was being spent. In both USA and Germany there was enough money in that era to go around everyone without caring or scrutinizing.
Then came the cold war to further extend America’s economic boom, the 50’s and the 60’s were the United States golden ages and in the 70’s and 80’s they focused on kicking the soviets out of many countries and coming in instead of them with their companies and American business men who established companies and bagged money and wealth from them
It is important to note that most wars were waged for economic reasons either for land, resources, food, oil and rare earth metals. Wherever there is a country that is rich with a certain natural resource you will see that it is plagued with wars; take the Middle East for example and Africa.
When President Clinton assumed office in the early 90’s his country had just come out of the Gulf War and there was an economic boom that economists were not really able to explain and the same happened when president Bush moved to the white house and especially in the early 2000’s. Some think that it was as a result of the Bush administration tax breaks policy but the truth lies somewhere else (I mean Clinton’s head was literally between Monica’s legs and president Bush well he was busy protecting his head from flying shoes, did you guys really think that they had the time to use their heads for something else?). Truth is that both booms were the result of war and only war. Clinton’s administration reaped the benefits of Bush Senior’s Gulf war against Iraq and the fees that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia paid for that involvement and the countless contracts which American companies got in those 2 countries not to mention the boost in American car sales. And then Bush Junior was in for round 2 and this time they secured the oil deals not to mention the reconstruction and security deals in Iraq to mention a few (Halliburton, Bechtel, Exon-Mobil, Blackwater and the list goes on and on).
“In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War, which we also know as the SWOT analysis. Yet another proof of the correlation and bonding between war and economy, for as long as there will be a need there will always be war and the dream of global peace will always be an illusion and not because people love to hate each other but because they have to in order to prosper and to get the best of what is out there.