Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Opportunity Cost of Terror

If you have not heard of 'Opportunity Cost' it is a economics term used to look at value that spending your resources in a different place might have brought you. Here is an example from wikipedia;

If a city decides to build a hospital on vacant land it owns, the opportunity cost is the value of the benefits forgone of some other thing which might have been done with the land and construction funds instead. In building the hospital, the city has forgone the opportunity to build a sports center on that land, or a parking lot, or the ability to sell the land to reduce the city's debt, since those uses tend to be mutually exclusive.

So on to the War of Terror. The Neo-Labour regime plans to take money from a landmine scheme and put it into the pockets of the bribery-accused, slush-funding running BAE Systems to service 6 (yes six!) jets used in Iraq.

Money set aside to clear landmines and remove arms from conflict zones is to be raided to pay a private defence contractor to keep Tornado jets flying in Iraq, according to a confidential memo seen by the Guardian. The Ministry of Defence plans to pay BAE Systems from the multimillion-pound Conflict Prevention Fund - which covers projects such as destroying weapons in Bosnia and landmines in Mozambique - to subsidise the £5m-£10m cost of servicing each of the six planes.

This is another opportunity cost - the government could either spend the money clearing landmines or bombing people...hmmmmm...hard choice. You could ask this question in regard the billions spent so far (and to be spent) on what is the best way to stop terrorism. And when you find out that the government has just spent £30 million buying 3 (yes just three!) robot aircraft (or UAVs) for Afghanistan at a cost of £10 million each but the whole contract runs to a billion.

Here is the real cost of this war;

The United Nations has delivered a grim assessment of the conflict in Afghanistan, reporting that violence increased sharply last year and resulted in the deaths of more than 8,000 people, at least 1,500 of them civilians.

And here is why they are willing to spend, spend, spend our money in pursuit of their aims;

The strategy behind these operations is what the Neoconservative advisers to President Bush have called “the Long War.” A leading member of the Neoconservatives, James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, said he hopes it will not last more than 40 years. The cost of such a generational conflict has been estimated at more than $17 trillion dollars.....But we should be aware that what Woosley and others have discussed is not just rhetoric or speculation – it is given substance by operational plans, dedicated military personnel, operating from 737 – I repeat seven hundred and thirty seven -- existing bases worldwide, with already constructed and positioned weapons, and sustained by an already allocated budget.


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