HENNELLY: What I wanted to do is look at 1968 and
Martin Luther King’s dream, and our 2020 living nightmare. And to do that work I
looked up a book he’d written at the end of his life “Where Do We Go from Here:
Chaos or Community.” And there’s just one quote that I wanted to share with you to
open this up. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are
considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism,
and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” So that’s the prism through
which I wanted to look at this. And indeed he was very prophetic in
predicting what would happen if we continued our addiction to militarism.
I’m sad to say much of it has come to fruition with our further notice wars
and the debt that’s come along with it. WOLFF: So let’s get into that. We have been now,
at least, for the last 17 or 18 years at war. Ostensibly a war against terrorism,
but a real war in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in some ways in Syria, and Libya, and
so on. The cost has been trillions of dollars,
and as I noted before, earlier in this program,
wars are typically paid for with debt, because it is too dangerous for a
government to say to the mass of people “You’re gonna have to pay, right now, for
this war.” So we borrowed to postpone it. That way the children
that are older can go fight and die and the children that a younger can pay for
it later. HENNELLY: Exactly. WOLFF: Tell us a little bit about how
you see, in your research as you did for Salon, the relationship between war
and militarism on the one hand, and debt. HENNELLY: I think it’s important to look at debt
as social control. This sense of you’re basically, as a society (and this is a
true if it’s your household or if it’s a national government) you’re making
commitments for the long term for a short term gain. If you do that
repeatedly as a strategy for getting by, it’s bankruptcy.
And so what we have here is, particularly in the case the United States, is a point
where at, I think, in the next couple of years we’ll be paying more in debt
service (that’s just servicing the debt), some 700 to 800 billion
dollars a year, which will be larger than the defense appropriation
itself. And this is something that digs us a hole. This is all happening at a
time when we need to change radically our priorities because of
global warming. And yet, what’s happening is we’re creating this debt. Now, it’s
important to understand that this is part of the machinery of wealth
inequality. What people don’t understand is who invests in this debt are people
and institutions that need to shield the wealth they already
have. So as this country has embraced debt (not just at the federal level, Rick.
Oh, if it were only that. At the municipal level, at the county level, at the state
level), the people that take advantage of that are people that park their wealth
there, where they can enjoy the profits and interest payments often tax-free. You
see the mechanism here? So the bigger the debt is, what happens? The bigger the
machine is of the concentration of wealth.

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4 thoughts on “Richard Wolff & Bob Hennelly on Military Spending and Debt”

  1. Another global warming alarmist supporter. When will we ever hold, over the past 90 years these global warming alarmists accountable .for their fake news. For 90 years now ney york and florida are suppose to be under water. Yet, as a society we never hild anyone of these global warming people accountable for their fake news. All they keep doing is keep pushing back the flood date.

  2. I have been a gamer geek for over 40 years and I can tell you we have been taught to love war with the games we play. I remember my mother trying to limit the violence in the games I played, but she was steamrolled by society. I wish she had been stronger, or I would have seen the trap before I fell into it. If we are going to change our outlook on war and violence it will have to with parents taking an interest in what our children do. The days of giving children a distraction device so parents can be on thier distraction device without interuption must end.

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