The Broken Window Fallacy in War and Bailout Propaganda

NATO’s destruction of Sirte Libya good for the economy?
Maybe for Bechtel and Halliburton

J.G. Vibes
Activist Post

What is a fallacy? A fallacy is basically a false idea that acts as an obstacle, which prevents someone from understanding a particular topic. Fallacies are quite often used in arguments as deceptive maneuvers to mislead a person who is attempting to determine truth and make sense of a situation.

Within the studies of logic many of these fallacies are identified and given specific names. This way one can more easily spot a misleading idea before it enters their consciousness and becomes a part of their worldview.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you, but the political world is consumed with fallacies. Most of the information that you will find in the mainstream media, in public schools and in government speeches is riddled with deception, lies and fallacies.

As an organization comprised of human beings that claims ownership over other human beings the government itself is one giant fallacy. This specific fallacy that the government is founded on is called “Ad Verecundiam”, the fallacy of authority. This was recently explored in great detail on gnostic media’s interview series with Larken Rose.

To sustain an organization that is rooted in lies and uses violence in its every interaction, it is necessary for them to employ fallacies on a constant basis to justify the destructive and irrational nature of their actions. One of the most frequently used fallacies in regards to economics, especially in times of war is “the broken window fallacy”.

The broken window fallacy” is used to debunk the popular but false argument that the destruction of property stimulates economic growth by creating messes that people will eventually be paid to clean up. This is one of the arguments that we typically hear to defend war. People say that war is good for the economy because it creates jobs. However, the fatal flaw in this logic is that it fails to consider that a better outcome could have been possible, had war resources been used for creation instead of destruction.

The broken window fallacy was coined by French economist Frederic Bastiat in the 19th century in his essay “That which is seen, and that which is not seen”. He used a parable about a broken window to describe the situation that we are talking about here. In his story the witnesses of the destruction assume that the broken window is good for the economy because they are only thinking about the profit of the window maker, but overlooking the potential loss incurred by unseen third parties, primarily the owner of the window and the businesses he would have invested in otherwise. War is the most obvious example of this fallacy, but it can also be seen in the recent financial bailouts or even the very process of taxation to begin with.

In the case of the bailouts, our broken window is the untold trillions that were transferred from the general public to various quasi-state corporations just after the massive financial crash of 2008. At this point no one can be sure of exactly how much money was transferred through these bailouts, but the official figure continues to climb as more independent research and investigation is carried out.

At first the government promised it would only be 700 billion dollars. Then in 2010 when the fed was forced to reveal details of their “back door bailouts”, the public discovered that the number was actually 12.3 Trillion dollars. Some other independent research even suggests that the number is much more than that, but either way 12.3 Trillion would almost be enough to cover the national debt, which passed 15 Trillion late last year. Just something to think about.

The mainstream media will have us believe that these bailouts were necessary to save jobs and prop up the US economy, but when we take a closer look we can identify this as an obvious use of “the broken window fallacy”. There has been a lot of propaganda employing this deception since the bailouts happened, but recently there has been a new surge in misinformation as a result of election time politricks.

At the beginning of this month Obama pushed this idea at an auto show in Washington commending the apparent “success” of the bailout that the automotive industry received. Again, this “official” explanation is completely overlooking the fact that our situation could be a lot better right now had that money actually been used by its rightful owners.

Digging deeper into the broken window kind of mentality, we can see some very serious philosophical consequences that come as a result of finding joy in destruction. This kind of thinking makes ethics completely irrelevant, because it allows people to rationalize actions that truly should have never been tolerated to begin with.

For more information on fallacies, critical thinking and the trivium see, The Tragedy and Hope Online Community & The Trivium Binder. For more information on sensible economics look into the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

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J.G. Vibes is an author, and artist — with an established record label. In addition to featuring a wide variety of activist information, his company Good Vibes Promotions hosts electronic dance music events. You can keep up with him and his forthcoming book Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, at his website. AOTMR will be released in March 2012, thanks to Leilah Publications. This project features nearly 100 different essays, just like this one, that cover a wide variety of topics. These essays give historical and philosophical insight into the many important issues that our generation faces. From banking cartels and alternative currency to eugenics and the drug war, AOTMR offers a complete and comprehensive breakdown of the counter culture’s struggle.

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