Book Review of The Economics of Killing

Infernal machine
An expose of the military-industrial complex shows how its actions grease the transfer of resources from the poorest to the richest globally, says JOHN GREEN

The Economics Of Killing
by Vijay Mehta (Pluto Press, £14.99)
This book comes with a list of plaudits from leading progressives, so one begins reading with a heightened sense of expectation.

It does not disappoint.

Mehta cuts through all the hypocritical cant, liberal vagueness and obfuscation to lay bare how a global military-industrial complex, in cahoots with Western governments, is devastating the raw-material-rich but impoverished countries of the underdeveloped world.

He details how the global 2008 meltdown was underpinned by US attempts to arrest the Chinese model of development.

And he demonstrates how, in conjunction with European powers, the US has acted with despots internationally to prevent countries from developing advanced industries and how this has nurtured terrorism.

Mehta argues that the real economy is to be found where raw materials are fashioned into valuable objects for trading and that the underlying motivation for war and militarisation lies in the battle to access them cheaply.

The clarity of his analysis exposes the chasm between the wealthy Western countries and the chaos and poverty of many others as no natural phenomenon.

Underlying this situation is an abusive trading relationship underpinned by arms sales and repression.

Western nations collude with thieving dictators in sharing the booty of mineral extraction and cash crops.

This abuse is the fundamental basis of trade yet it is invariably ignored by the Western media which instead prefers to concentrate on fabricated narratives.

These only serve to blur the issue by suggesting that poor countries are poor simply because they choose the wrong leaders – who are themselves corrupt.

Even so, they are able to stow their ill-gotten gains in Western banks with impunity.

This “few bad apples” spin on failed development is a fiction used to cover up the fundamental causes of poverty in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere.

“Across the world,” Mehta writes, “the hirelings of the western military-industrial-complex control nations that work as cogs in a machine that transfers raw materials to the West at minimum expense to the latter.”

His book provides vivid detail of how this venal system works but the author doesn’t leave it at that.

Mehta demonstrates that there is an alternative model to the deadly cycle of military and economic disaster.

He underlines the vital necessity for disarmament on a world scale and a strict regulation of arms trading to create a peace dividend within an international legal framework and he shows how the military-industrial model could be replaced by adopting equitable policies for disarmament, demilitarisation and working for sustainable development if the cycle of violence and poverty is to be ended.

A valuable, well-argued, passionate and clearly written book.

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