War Is a Racket

The fact that I’ve been cynical about how the world really works shouldn’t surprise any of you.  Washington DC is a circus, a show for entertainment purposes only.  Sure, what happens there affects our daily lives but there’s so much more going on that we don’t ever see.  The objective is to pit us against each other or divide us by race, religion, politics and social class etc.  So long as we are bickering with each other we have no time to realize that the whole system is working against us collectively.

Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt…

Juvenal

Ukraine is front and center on the world stage right now.  It’s a complicated mess of alliances and grudges, NATO members and non-members.  I won’t pretend to understand it all but I will say that to me it sounds like a steaming load of BS!  It was never more apparent than when I read an op-ed in Bloomberg the other day.  Although an opinion piece it did verify that the US and Russia had agreed to keep commodities out of the battle.  We need Russia’s oil to run our country and Russia needs the cash flow to finance the war.

I’m sorry but, what kind of war is that?  Let’s agree to keep things civil on the critical stuff, meanwhile we’ll make a big show of things for the nightly news.  NPR can put up one panel of experts and Fox News can offer the opposite.  Both conservatives and liberals will be able to lap it up from their favorite source and we are once again at odds with each other, just like they want.

My question is:  Who’s making the money?  Behind every social, political or economic problem is a pile of money that someone controls.  I was talking to Ashok Ramji, of AST Podcast fame, about it this week and he mentioned a cute little book that I had read several years ago.  I had it in one of my boxes so I grabbed it and read it again.  It’s titled “War Is a Racket”, written by General Smedley D. Butler, sometime before World War II.  It’s short and to the point and will probably cost you less than $10.  Get a copy.  I read it again last night during halftime of a basketball game.

Butler goes into basic details of what he learned during and after the first world war so it comes from the perspective of a decorated Marine Corps General.  He had his assumptions during the war and was able to confirm those after retiring to civil duty back home.  It certainly is an interesting look at something that should surprise none of us.  A quick summary is below:

Chapter 1:  He talks about profit being the main motivation behind war.  Those who stand to make money want war but they are never the ones doing the fighting.  He states that 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made during the first World War.  How many of those actually saw battle?

Chapter 2:  Several examples are given that show the massive increase in profits for certain corporations.  Uncle Sam foots the bill for all sorts of excess and waste.

Chapter 3:  This talks about how the banks were involved and how those institutions actually made out better than anyone else.  Banks sold Liberty Bonds to soldiers and the American public, only to buy them back at a discount when they could create another crisis and scare people into getting rid of them.

Chapter 4:  Smedley D. Butler has his own ideas about how to put an end to wars.  Take the profit out of it and only let the people who fight vote on whether it happens.  A bit idealistic for sure but it’s nice to think about..

Chapter 5:  “To Hell with War”  Clearly Butler’s experience of starvation and suffering on the front lines gave him good reason to be furious when so many became wealthy by taking advantage of the opportunity.

How does this translate to what’s happening today?  I don’t know for certain but I have some ideas.  It could be someone making billions or it could be a way to destroy evidence of crimes or corruption.  Maybe the President of Ukraine is not playing ball with all the people behind the scenes and needs to be replaced.  Call it a conspiracy theory if you want but there is one thing this has accomplished that can’t be argued.  It created concern in the general population worldwide.

Fear and greed drive all financial decisions.  The market rises and people get greedy.  No one sells at the top because they want more and no one knows where the top is.  Eventually the bottom drops out and the average person rushes for the exit but it’s always just a little too late.  Some people sell at the wrong time and others ride it all the way to the bottom, stuck until it rebounds, which could be years.  Corporations and the ultra-wealthy, however, swoop in at just the right time to buy assets at a significant discount.

Public fear and panic is one thing but the computer algorithms are another completely.  Computers run the stock market and when certain points are triggered, a cascade of selling will happen.  Anyone stuck in that will have no choice but to hope for a soft landing.

I’m not trying to scare anyone or convince you to take action.  This isn’t about getting out of the stock market or buying annuities.  I’m telling you that I think emotional reactions come as the result of manufactured fear mongering. You need to act on your own motivations and this stuff shouldn’t scare you.

If it causes you to take action then you weren’t prepared for it.  If you were prepared then it doesn’t matter.  That’s what I’m trying to do.  If you are prepared then there’s nothing to worry about.  The next time this kind of thing happens you can just ignore it.  General Smedley D. Butler might have different ideas but I think if we all stop fighting ourselves and just ignore this garbage, it might go away.  Without the audience there is no show.

I would love some comments on this but please keep politics out of it.  It’s a waste of time and I’m growing very tired of the debate.

Thank you!

Bryan

Written By

Bryan Anderson

5 thoughts on “War Is a Racket

  1. I enjoyed your article. All I will say is that I’m a conservative-enough said on that. I am going to try to get the book “War is a Racket”. I’m sure it will shed light on many things I suspect to be true. Sad to say, but I just don’t know who to trust any more. Keep up the good work you do. I appreciate your columns. 🙂 JER

    1. Thanks John – I’m a conservative too but I’ve grown tired of arguing. The fact that we’ve all been fed information from suspect sources suggests that maybe we have been arguing for the wrong reasons.

  2. Don’t ever forget that while people & businesses will always take advantage of a situation many of our problems are the result of purely evil actors.

    It only takes 1 sociopath with one gun to ruin the lives of hundreds of people.

    Now imagine what an autocratic dictator or even a democratically elected president can do with an entire military at their disposal.

    Read history. The story has been repeated many times.

  3. Read what president Eisenhower said about” military- industrial complex”

    Love your articles
    I would totally agree that a proper annuity strategy helps living without major financial fear. Sleep insurance.

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