Elvis Costello – Shipbuilding

Back in 1982, was the Falklands War. The sovereignty (in this sense, ownership) of the Falkland Islands was in dispute between Argentina where the land lay off its coast, and Great Britain. Over about two-and-a-half months, around 900 people, mostly soldiers on the Argentinian side, perished, until the South American country surrendered. The islands remained in British hands.

Elvis Costello examined the role war can play in reviving domestic economies. Shipbuilding contracts bring jobs, but the trade-off would be people dying on those boats in the armed conflicts to come.

It is widely accepted that governments can attack economic downturns by military spending, and this has led others to cynically maintain that countries may go to war not so much to protect freedom and liberate others, but to boost their gross domestic product. Maybe. Yet proving this assertion in a direct, causal sense is challenging. Too, there are typically multiple reasons countries engage militarily beyond just creating jobs through government contracts to build war machines.

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