The War on Recession

Randolph Bourne once wrote that “war is the health of the state.” Whether the enemy is communism, drugs, or poverty, these wars tend to exacerbate the very problems they’re purportedly waged to solve, all while increasing governmental power at great public expense. The “War on Terror,” of course, is perhaps the most obvious modern example.G4

Center stage, however, is reserved for the unfolding financial crisis. It’s no surprise that the world leaders whose governments orchestrated this mess are now calling for further intervention and state control to fix it. From this perspective, the antics of the G20 summit – detailed in this piece by the Financial Times – are maddeningly ironic. The result is the kick-off of what Gordon Brown calls a “new world order” – a $1.1trillion stimulus package that we’re told will be a “a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.”

The G20 big-wigs will eventually be saddened to learn that spending one’s way out of debt is an impossible proposition. Still, the War on Recession, like those against drugs, poverty, and terror, is not likely to end anytime soon. Most frustrating of all is that its disastrous economic consequences will most assuredly be used by leaders as justification for its continuance and expansion. Maybe we should send some Bastiat or Hayek over to London!

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