Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cost of War

I was recently reading a story on the cost of the Iraq war. Most estimates put the daily cost at around $200,000,000 (200 million) per day. Government allocations, as identified in the budget, show that the US Government has already spent more than $450,000,000,000 on the war. This doesn't include the costs of care for returning vets... That's likely to continue for decades and push the costs well past $1,000,000,000,000.

Motivated by a comment on an earlier post, I thought I'd try to give folks some perspective on these numbers: most people simply cannot grasp how big "a million" really is... let alone a billion.

For instance, if you were to start counting $100 bills at the rate of 1/sec ... how long do you think you'd have to count to "pay back" the $450 billion spent so far?

A month?

Six months?

A year?

Try more than 142 years...

The amounts of money we are talking about are staggering. Throwing out labels like billion or trillion simply doesn't do them justice.

What makes the situation completely intolerable is that the money isn't making the world a better or safer place for you, me or anyone else.

Well, maybe for Haliburton shareholders.


skip sievert said...

The money is fake.

The Chinese are bankrolling the war along with Japan and a few others that are buying our treasuries.

These others act as our slave labor force. Labor used to comprise a great deal of cost to business. Now with slave labor it is much less than 10%

This international feedback system is globalism, and it is the only thing right now that keeps our Price System going here.

As soon as our dollar monopoly is broken, then the house of cards in regard to money will collapse.

Money is not real. It does a good job of controlling the caste/class system though.
You seem obsessed with money and politics as ways to extricate ourselves from the mess we are in.

Neither of those will work to do that in the future.

Politics invented the concepts of religion by the way.
You seem to understand that something is way wrong in regard to religion.
That you are right about.
Your slavish devotion to thinking about money and politics though points out a lapse in 'big picture' way to think about society.

Reign of Reason said...

Where do you come up with "labor only costs 10%" of the exp for businesses?

We're predominately a service-oriented economy now... The cost (to the employer) for employees makes up the majority of his expenses.

I should know -- I run an aerospace engineering firm: more than 85% of our outlays go to salary, benefits and other employee expenses.

skip sievert said...

Yeah right, you are dreaming.
Most of the labor involved in producing the clothing, electronics, etc. from China and else where is a tiny proportion of the cost of business compared to the days of labor unions, and decent wages in this country.
The reason you are paying 85% is that you have no choice for some of those operations here.
What YOU are producing in essence is to a selective cartel, that can over charge the government almost at will.
In other words it is a crooked enterprise, that no doubt is manipulated by lobbyists, and special interests.
That is how our Price System works.
I think it is pretty clear what I am talking about, and for you to twist it into a special interest group, American phony business aspect, is not really informative.
I was and am talking about Chinese slave labor.
The basis of current Globalism.

Reign of Reason said...


I am talking about the US. Our economy predominately employees service jobs. From the CS Monitor:

The US economy is now being powered by educators, health care workers, front-desk clerks at hotels, and anyone who can ask, "May I help you?"

Demand for workers in the service sector is hard to sate. ... Search firms say 80 percent or more of their work is in the service sector. In fact, the economy has now reached the point that the service sector is creating 100 percent of US job growth. "

Most of my companies work in the aerospace business is commercial: less than 15% is with the government and that is with NASA for deep space research -- yes, it is lucrative, but not as much as you would think. Besides, it's < 10% of revenues.

We have plenty of choice in what we pay -- however, to attract good engineers and "be fair" we pay good wages and for a complete benefit set (medical, dental, vision, etc. at no cost to our employees -- all of them regardless of position/experience).

Where do you get your data? I'd like to read about the cost of labor (as a percentage of manufacturing costs) in the US, China, etc.

Without a measure of value placed on labor, you have very little incentive (for many) to pursue various jobs. True, many useless jobs (investment bankers, stock brokers, etc) have rewards out of sync with value... but removing "value" from the equation is not a feasible solution: it is the motivating factor for a large percentage of the work-force.

Reign of Reason said...

Make that "company's" ... not "companies" ... oops.

skip sievert said...

I realize you have no idea about what I am talking about.
That is because you are obviously brainwashed, and like all good cogs in the Price System, are only doing your job, and perpetuating the myths such as 'value' that run our society.
It was during the time of low energy conversion, reaching back some 7000 years, that the present concepts of government, finance, and the virtues of sweat-of-the-brow labor were conceived and refined. Also, during this period of time there came into being the current distribution system that Technocracy calls the Price System -- that is, any social system that effects the production and distribution of goods and services using money.
The world was still toiling in a state of low-energy conversion when, in 1776, Adam Smith published what was to become the classic economic theory we still employ to control production and distribution, and where your term, you are brainwashed with, 'value' comes from.
Howard Scott of Technocracy, pointed out that this theory, which is based largely on the assumption that human labor determines the value of goods and services, is inappropriate in a high-energy civilization.
As more extraneous energy -- that is, energy derived from a source other than human power -- is introduced into industry, production increases.
At the same time, the necessity for human labor decreases. Therefore, the factor of human labor is no longer applicable.
At the same time production increases, man-hours must decrease. And, since man-hours generate consuming power in the form of wages, consuming power must decrease.
Again, I know you are completely clueless as to the reality of our system now, and I may be wasting my time in even trying to explain it to you.
Again though I say, and I say again, that our current variation of the price system depends on our slave labor force of Chinese presently.
This has nothing to do with what you introduced here about the service sector, and you have introduced that in an off topic way.

Reign of Reason said...

Ive read some of your technocracy "FAQs", papers, etc. The are woefully simplistic... as are the majority of your hand-waving arguments.

They posit a "solution" with no path to fulfillment: they dictate a "final system" that addresses some of our social shortcomings without explaining how on earth you can possible get there -- realistically.

Its akin to saying "once we have a star-trek type transporter, we'll have solved all our transportation problems" -- without actually describing how you'd build it ...

Not to mention the tyrannical nature of the "Continental Board" -- that is "appointed" via consent of the appropriately technically literate (who gets to chose those folks I wonder?).

So please Skip -- come-back now and tell me I'm a buffoon for not understanding your "system" without every trying to truly explain how any of its machinery could every be brought into existence ... and even if it was why it would work in a world filled with primates (homo-sapiens) who are inherently greedy, lazy and self-centered.

Reign of Reason said...

For instance: from the FAQs:

What check would there be against the abuse of power?

The idea of abuse of power is a hangover from our thinking in terms of an economy of scarcity. ... Men and women would hold positions of responsibility, not through power inherent in the control of wealth but rather on the basis of competence.

Right... its a "hangover" that will disappear when the new order is established... have you ever heard of man's desire for prestige? How about cronyism? You don't think this system -- or ANY system that relies on humans -- would be corrupted by cronyism and people's need to be looked-up-to?

This is naive in the extreme... If you actually believe people will occupy positions of authority, responsibility, etc. based mostly on their ability I have some land to sell you...

So please -- continue to blog from your self-described intellectual Mt. Olympus ... The rest of us will muttle along and try to work to actually make things minimally better here in the real world -- where human frailty is a reality. Our efforts may not approach your scientific utopia (which I am confident in assessing would be akin to Lenin's Russia) but at least we stand a chance of making a difference.

Reign of Reason said...

"As more extraneous energy -- that is, energy derived from a source other than human power -- is introduced into industry, production increases.
At the same time, the necessity for human labor decreases. Therefore, the factor of human labor is no longer applicable."

Where do you find a basis for such statements? Where is all this nearly-free energy?

You are amazing... and obviously out of touch with engineering, science and technology. Turning a crank to generate electricity isn't the only form of "labor" ...

skip sievert said...

As said, you know nothing and actually do not care to know anything because you are brainwashed.

You have no understanding of our program, and yet talk in gibberish about it.

This tells me that you are either stupid or ignorant to put it bluntly.