“Converting to a Peace Economy”

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. This is the topic of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s December 2010 TV program.

Every year Congress makes decisions about how much money to spend for which purposes. For example, Congress could spend less on nuclear weapons and more on education. But 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.

Now our economy is crumbling, and we must look again at peace conversion as one remedy for our economy’s systemic problems. Recently Glen re-read his 1977 report and found that the economic reasoning was 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.

During this TV program Glen summarizes the economic problems caused by military spending and some potentials for converting to a peace economy. Visual images illustrate this powerful information.

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.

And it is possible to do this. But we must inform ourselves and organize a grassroots movement.

To watch this program — and its many visual images — CLICK HERE.

To read about it, Converting to a Peace Economy — One-page description.

ALSO, Glen Anderson wrote a very thorough report about this in March 1977.  The problems have gotten worse since then, but you may borrow a copy of the report (in a 3-ring binder) from Glen.  Contact him at (360) 491-9093 or glenanderson@integra.net.  Here is more information about this: Peace Conversion report — 1977 — New title page — ONE COLUMN



About GlenAnderson 1515 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at https://parallaxperspectives.org He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093 glen@parallaxperspectives.org