This is the argument which basically says that war stimulates the economy because of all the economic activity associated with a massive military buildup. And war does indeed stimulate the economy. Stimulation is not always good, though. This argument is a classic example of Frederic Bastiat
's "broken window fallacy
." What some fail to realize is that money spent on bombs, planes, and soldiers is not being spent on other things. Many soldiers make positive contributions to the economy in private sector
jobs, and we experience a net loss when they abandon that productivity to engage in what is primarily a destructive endeavor. This is why war is only smart in matters of self defense
. It is possible to calculate the real costs of a war, but the opportunity cost
There is considerable evidence that the United States was already recovering from the Great Depression before it entered into World War II, and I doubt if anyone would really argue that we were better off economically from any other war of the twentieth century. War is a costly project. It is both unwise and immoral to engage in it for some pipe dream of economic gain. War is bad for the economy and it is health of the state.