An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Cost of the War

Nobel prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglits has collaborated with Linda Blimes to produce book that looks closely at the true costs of the latest US expeditions into Afghanistan and Iraq. Are you sitting comfortably? Please sit down if you aren't already. The numbers they come up with are big - really, really big.

Three trillion dollars. That's right 3 triliion dollars. Not billion. Trillion. More than World War 1. More than Vietnam cost over 12 years. More than the Korean War - twice as much. 10 times what the first gulf war cost. As of writing the joint efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are costing the US about $18 billion - per month.  Like I said really big numbers and under normal circumstances they would remain just very big numbers but Stiglitz was on Radio 4 yesterday and he made a couple of equivalences that put things in perspective.

At the current rate of spend 2 weeks would pay to eliminate illiteracy worldwide. 10 days would fund the US aid budget to the whole of Africa for a year. One sixth of the total $3 billion could put the US social security system on a sound financial basis for 75 years!

Now those are just the numbers - the arithmetic - the money if you will. Stiglitz and his collaborator do not stop there though. They investigate the impact that the financial and human costs have had or are having on family lives and the world economy respectively and those finding make equally awful reading.

It is a truly horrific picture they paint with words and numbers. And what is it all for?

Read the truth here.

Or listen to the Radio4 program here.

Read and listen - and weep.

Blogged with Flock


  1. I'm glad to still get the odd radio 4 listening suggestion from you :)

  2. good to know you still check out the blog Tigger