Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Iraq War and the Job Market

On the 25th I posted a link to This piece by an anti-war "mouthbreather". I called it clap-trap. And it is. I've given it a lot of thought though since then and come to the conclusion that maybe the basic concept of looking at the war and comparing it to the free market or the job market isn't such a bad idea.

However, there are much different conclusions one should come to if they look at it objectively, rather than through the prism of the narrow-minded anti-warism that the author did. Frankly, there's not a subject out there that an anti-war activist can't twist to fit their ideology by ignoring certain facts.

The author sates the obvious first:
If a growth industry is appealing enough to a worldwide audience, it tends to establish itself quickly elsewhere in areas closer to pools of ready labor and targeted consumers, particularly when the start-up capital for such an industry is minimal. Industries exempt (legally or not) from compliance with the normal labyrinth of government regulation enjoy an additional competitive advantage in their ease of entry into the marketplace. Then too is the issue of product design and delivery. Anywhere implement or product manufacture is relatively cheap and simple and its delivery not overly encumbered, industries can take root.

From this point on she parts with reality and goes on to theory and speculation, by considering the job pool and the consumer to be separate entities in her application as if it were a tangible product like toilet paper or a service like tax preparation.

The closest product market it could be compared to, and still be far removed from, is sports. And they are both taking the same route. Imagine the guy who runs into a busy market wearing a bomb vest, or the guy setting the IED at the roadside, as the quarterback. Bin Laden and Zarqawi are the coaches, or team owners.

Here in Jacksonville our Jaguar players demand more and more money and the owner sees less and less profit. In Iraq the jihadists demand more and more money and the cult leaders can afford fewer and fewer bombing operations.

What does the Jaguar owner do? He has several choices. He can tell the players they can't have the money and they'll go play for another team. Only the true believers in the game (which are few when money is such a strong mitigating factor) would stay. He can move to another city which will more easily support the increase in wages. Or he can shut down the franchise and look for some other means to support himself.

The "insurgents" in Iraq are demanding more money. The jihad bosses were paying $500 for a bombing operation. Then they were paying $1000. They are paying an average of $1500 per operation now. The price will only go up.

What does the jihad boss do? This is getting more expensive for himm. He can tell them they can't have the money and the "employees" will get real jobs or just leave. Only the true believers would stay, and we know they are a small minority. He can move operations to go bomb other people where labor is cheap because monetary support is slowly drying up and assets are being frozen daily. Or he can close up shop and blend into the civilian crowd and try to regroup.

Some try to compare the war in Iraq with the decade long insurgency in Afghanistan against the Soviets. They say, "Look. They hung in there and the soviets finally left." There's no comparison. The soviets didn't have a competing product nor did they even attempt to establish one. The Iraqis are being offered freedom and liberty as an alternative. And they are responding. Because of this one strong factor the front of the war on terror will move from Iraq to somewhere else or it will become even more splintered into smaller pockets and more random appearances.

The insurgency has peaked in Iraq and while some will say that more soldiers died this month than last month, therefore the insurgency is stronger, is a stretch in correlation. By this reasoning, as my friend GM said in another matter, "If correlation was in fact the same as causality" then the number of coalition deaths is what determines the terrorist's success, or lack thereof.

If we are to try and look at it as a market strategy or as a marketable product at all then we can only deduce that this is not a supply and demand issue nor is it a viable job market. Because the jihadists are consuming their own product. It could only be considered, for lack of a better term, a "closed market" and with less and less support it will collapse under its own weight.

It's only a matter of time.



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