What Is A Bomb?
A bomb is something that explodes, and has one clear objective: destruction of those who disagree with you. As such, it has no positive virtues. Destruction is not something that is positive in human society; in all cases where destruction exists in our lives, it exists as a challenge to us to first understand it and then transform it into something that is genuinely positive. Useful.
In this respect, the bomb represents the total failure of human compassion. There are those who say that war is merely an extention of diplomacy. The reality is that war is where diplomacy has failed. Humans are at their best communicative and understanding, bombs destroy the weak and the strong alike, irrespective of whether they are diplomats, butchers or babies. The human mind is able to discern such things, adjust itself in order to speak at the level of each person we meet that we might be better understood. A bomb does none of this.
It just blows your head off.
We are all equal in death. That doesn’t mean we have to indulge in this in the way we have in the last hundred years.
It’s quite easy to make a bomb. Saltpetre, carbon and one or two other things, poured into a vessel of some kind and add a fuse. Light the blue touch-paper and throw it away. The last bit is quite important as the bomb doesn’t care if it kills you or anybody else. In this respect, bombs are actually quite dangerous. To the person throwing them as much as the person catching it.
Please remember that a bomb does have to be made. These are not things that grow on trees: in a bomb, we use the earth’s bounty in order to destroy each other. Materials that could, with a little more care and thought, be used to benefit both sides. But no, we make bombs instead.
Putting An Economic Value On A Bomb.
The old adage holds here: “the customer values your product more than the money they pay you.”
Easy enough to say if you’re making a pencil or a railway waggon because people need them. There’s a problem with this concept when it comes to a bomb. You’ll all have heard of the stories where a hand-grenade lands in a First World War trench. Only to be thrown back.
Which is the point.
The end user of the bomb – the customer – doesn’t want it. The end user is going to suffer from this instrument in ways that are genuinely and irrepairably nasty.
Okay, so I am stretching a point here. The customer of the bomb manufacturers is the government. It is the government that will dispose of them. But this still leaves our question unanswered: what is the economic value of a bomb?
To a government it has no value. If it makes a government more powerful, this can only be negative as it allows that government to threaten others with bombs where morally, that is to say, for the benefit of humankind as a whole, they should be using diplomacy. The wielding of such power helps nobody, including the powerful themselves – that is for another post to explore.
Bombs bring in no return on the investment made in them, all it does is destroy other countries. Countries that in better times were trading with you, trading in sensible, valuable things like motorcars and frozen meat. That is called a “return on investment”. Bombs just flatten it.
Fixing The Price Of A Bomb.
It’s possible for the manufacturer to offer the bomb at the price it costs to produce it, plus a little extra for profit. That would be the moral argument in this perverted and immoral business.
Only there’s a problem here, too: the people who make bombs aren’t the nicest of people. If they were, they’d be making motorcars, pencils or freezing meat. Things where one can agree a deal in a truly human way. Or even to please a customer in a way that means they’re more than happy to pay you for the things you supply them.
Nasty people have a tendency to exploit others, and exploitation always means that someone is playing on the fears of the other. If you don’t believe me, look at the newspaper articles and the tenor of the books published in Britain in the twenty years running up to the First World War. And then look at what the Germans were writing at the same time. It’ll give you a clear indication as to who wanted the war… irrespective of what the history books say. Again, the problem is people who aren’t the nicest. People who have retreated from the demands of human society.
Exploitation And Fear.
Such people played on the fears of the British nation. They’d seen the effect Jack the Ripper had on the nation, an effect so complete that even the rumour of his presence would have parents waiting for their children at the school gate. This happened in 1893 and was not a lone incident; Jack the Ripper would scare naughty children until the Hun took his place in late 1914. Britain was ripe and ready to be terrified.
So were its politicians.
Because if you can terrify a politician, they aren’t going to think straight. It’s how fear works: it muddles the mind. The imagination is no longer tied down by reality, and since the disconnect is total, they have no rational understanding of what it is they fear. Look carefully and you will see that America blames Russia for the things only America would do: America can imagine nothing else. The reality of Russia is very different to the Russia portrayed in the newspapers.
The exploitation of British politicians – or American ones, come to that – is easy. The bomb manufacturers can pretty well ask what they will, and bingo! They’ll be paid. The costs of a modern bomb are truly staggering, and as befits something so economically absurd, these costs have literally no bearing on the manufacturing costs. A shell for a cannon isn’t exactly rocket science, yet a 100mm (four inch) shell will cost in the region of $80,000.
And that’s when they’re bought by the ton.
For an item that in many instances is a lot less technologically advanced than say the engine of a motorcar. Something that costs considerably less… but then, the buyer of an engine will justify its purchase by saying that it can produce so much by way of profit. Therefore if the profit is to be increased, the price must be lowered. ‘Purchase Money’ thinking where costs are everything and investment is based solely on this – and not on human intelligence (see my last post on banks for more on this theme).
But you can’t justify the price of a bomb in this way, because the economic effect of a bomb isn’t something that is beneficial. That is to say, its use will not bring a profitable return. As mentioned, that use is so negative that your “customer’s” one wish is to see it returned to you before it goes off.
The economic equation of profitability is unhinged. Deranged or mangled would be better terms. This is the ‘disconnect’ at its most extreme. Everything that is human bridges this gap. The bomb is the ultimate in inhumanity. Economics in its truest sense sees the marriage of the two sides of this psychological gap: the producer and the customer in this case. The ‘Economics’ and the ‘Traffic’ of Perry Marshall’s ‘Tactical Triangle’ is joined by the ‘conversion’. That happens when two humans agree. The tactical triangle doesn’t work if you start killing the people you’re trying to do business with, the ‘traffic’. Economics is a human affair; when people get killed the economics has run onto the rocks.
The Economics Of Unreality.
The true economic value of a bomb is negative. A contradiction in terms you might think. So look at it this way: it costs money to produce and use, the end effect costs yet more. A bomb that cost $250,000 lands on a block of flats in Afghanistan’s Kabul and creates $50,000 worth of damage. That’s a huge waste of money, for everybody.
It’s quite usual in this surreally inverted world for a stupendously expensive bomb to do so little damage. Even worse is when it goes bang in the middle of a field. That really is a waste of time and effort.
In strict economic terms, however, the bomb having no effect is actually beneficial to the economy at large. The less a bomb affects the economy – humanity – the better. Without humanity, there’d be no economics in the first place, would there?
Money For Nothing.
Is it any wonder that Britain and America rely on their defence industries? The margins are truly colossal: it’s well known statistically that the arms industry employs around 1/10 of the number of people than an ordinary business for a given amount of turnover. When the prices are super-inflated in the way they are in the arms industry, isn’t it evident that they don’t need to produce very much? It’s an MBA’s dream come true: money for nothing.
And their account books gleam!
As well they might.
If only they were selling something worthwhile…