Throughout our nation’s history, we had occasional wars and then de-mobilized afterward. But after World War II we launched the Cold War and maintained a permanent war status. We also created a “permanent war economy.” Massive military spending year after year – decade after decade – since the 1940s – has distorted and disrupted the U.S. economy and hurt our society in many ways.
Typically when we think of military spending, we think of the budget and the trade-offs between military spending and spending for better purposes. However, far beyond such budgetary trade-offs, military spending causes systemic harm to our economy’s functioning – and systemic harm to our society as a whole.
If we want to rescue our economy – and our society – from continuing decline, we must convert to a peace economy.
In 1976 and 1977 Glen Anderson conducted a lot of research on this and discovered that economists and other researches had proven that military spending causes problems. He also researched Washington State’s economic dependence on the military – and how to convert to a peace economy.
Other people around the country and here in Washington State were thinking along the same lines. In about 1980 he helped to create the Washington State Conversion Project. He also helped draft state legislation that would move us in positive directions and testified at a legislative hearing on our bills.
In the 1980s when Ronald Reagan launched a massive escalation of military spending, the pressure extinguished the political likelihood of converting to a peace economy, and the peace conversion movement withered.
Our economy has continued to deteriorate in several ways. We must look again at “peace conversion” as one remedy for our economy’s systemic problems. The economic reasoning in Glen’s 1977 report is still sound. The numbers are old, but the somber predictions of economic deterioration have come to pass. Now is the time to lift up the economic realities and the principles for another look and new action.
Military spending has bankrupted our economy, so we must convert from a “war economy” to a “peace economy.” This “economic conversion” or “peace conversion” would produce positive ripple effects throughout our economy – and throughout our whole society.
Glen invites you to borrow a copy of his 100-page report. Phone him at (360) 491-9093 or e-mail him through this blog.
Also, you can watch the TV program he produced (including many visual images) about this or read about it. See the blog post about “Converting to a Peace Economy.”