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Vijay Mehta, The Economics of Killing: How the West Fuels War and
Poverty in the Developing World, Pluto Press, 2012, 250 pages, ISBN
9780745332246, £14.99

Vijay Mehta is the chair of Uniting for Peace and founding trustee of the Fortune Forum charity. This interesting book of his has a bad title.
‘Killing’ implies single murders, as in the Danish book and TV series, ‘The Killing’. It is perhaps understandably used here, because Vijay Mehta wants to emphasise the preparedness of the US secret services to use killing to dispose of enemies, as in the case of Lumumba, Hammarskjöld, Guevara, Allende or Letelier. The sub-title of the book is better; the book is about ‘fuelling war’, mostly by the USA. Propaganda presents the United States as the great champion of peace,

not with advanced US producer goods. How long the US debt to China can be allowed to grow is a big question, which Mehta does not seek to answer. The concluding chapter of this book, an Epilogue on ‘The Path Ahead’, is the least satisfactory in my opinion. One observation which I would dispute is that a major task is to demolish economic theory. Not all economic theory is wrong or harmful. I would exempt Keynesian economics from Mehta’s denunciation. The proposal to disband NATO I entirely agree with, but where should we start? The web used by the social movement, micro finance and Fair Trade are all movements recommended for support, and I would agree. The Appendix contains an extraordinarily valuable list of Global Peace Organisations, with their addresses. But the big question remains – how to develop a movement in the United Stateswhich would challenge the present power of the great corporations to determine US foreign policy and to influence US election results.

Michael Barratt Brown