“Is Forced Military Service Good for the Economy?”
Military conscription is generally pushed as “honorable, patriotic,” and even occasionally “good for the economy.” Elizabeth Braw of the Atlantic Council claims in the Financial Times that the state has every right to force the young men and women of the country into the military because it “helps their careers” and “develops general skills useful “in any sector, such as adaptation, managing and social skills.”
In 1973 Murray Rothbard wrote about how conscription is slavery because it forces total compliance in the way you move, act, and even think. Not to mention the distinct possibility of death or maiming while serving their sentence, or the guarantee of severe punishment if you attempt to dodge this form of slavery.
Braw centered her argument on the misconception that the government is the best entity to decide how young men should spend their early lives. What if these young people wish to become doctors, or scientists, or plumbers? Braw basically says that they will be useless to the world as whatever they wish to become and would much better benefit the economy in the military. However, simple logic shows that if they were to earn a living through one of these careers then people do need them and are willing to pay for their services and are grateful for the many years of their life they took to learn the skills necessary to perform their job. The skills they will emerge with from the military with do effectively nothing as a doctor, or a scientist, or a plumber as long as the individual lacks training in their chosen field of work.
Through simple reasoning, we can clearly see that Elizabeth Braw’s claim that military conscription benefits the economy is bogus and we can confidently say, “Forced Military Service is NOT Good for the Economy.”