Keiser Report host Max Keiser offered a unique take on what drives the American economy yesterday.
“There’s very little diversity in the American economy other than war,” Keiser says.
While discussing the spread of private military contractors, he compares the US economy to a field of genetically modified crops, calling it a “monoculture of war” whose dependence on its military spending dooms it to “collapse.”
Is America indeed nothing more than a uniform field of bombs and bullets? Only neat rows of Hellfire missiles jostling together like ears of corn? Well, by the data, no.
The data actually suggest some similarities between the U.S. and Russian economies when it comes to military spending. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is a Swedish think tank that aggregates military spending data, and it says both countries spend about the same: roughly 4 percent on the military.
In fact, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down and the credit crisis passing further into the rear-view mirror, the U.S. economy has relied less and less on military dollars lately. Since 2009, the military share of the economy has declined, so much so that in 2013, (the most recent year for which data was available), Russia’s economy was more war-dependent than America’s.
That’s not to say there’s not a real discussion to be had about American militarism. The prompt for Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert’s discussion yesterday was a recent article in The American Conservative by Kelley Vlahos, “The Blackwater World Order.” Vlahos argues that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq built up an industry of private military contractors who, without hot wars to fight in, are now selling themselves to private companies around the world.
Concerning as that news may be, and huge as the U.S.’s military spending is, war is not the only thing Made in America. Besides guns, we still sell hamburgers, trucks, Jazzy-brand scooters, and lots and lots of flags.
Here’s Max Keiser yesterday, quoted in full: