Wednesday, October 31, 2012

War as Entropy : its permanent costs

Pure - useless - ENTROPY
"Think about Germany and Japan : smashed to pieces in the last war, but look at them now." "So, no real - permanent - harm in a little war now and then is there ?" " Boys must be boys, etc."
(Sample conversations of conventional economists their cups.)

In my last SVE post "Artillery Shells : Entropy for Economists" , I tried to put a difficult term from physical science into the everyday language of voters and consumers, into language that even conventional economists should be able to understand.

I focussed on the purest and quickest form of entropy most of us will ever personally experience , when we learn that the very expensive, very well made 105 mm artillery shell our taxes just paid for, has been blown to the tiniest of bits.

In that post, I neglected the entropy inherent in the fates of the three victims of our 105 mm shell : the soldier, the civilian car and the civilian building , as all three were also blown to pieces.

They are blown into much bigger pieces, physically , than the shell and the explosives that propelled it and blew it up, so does the concept of entropy really apply to them ?

Let me argue why it does.

It costs a lot of money to feed, clothe, shelter and above all educate a 20 year old man : his parents and society pay it hopeful his 45 years of labour as an adult will pay it back --- in particular taxes on his employment will help pay the health costs of his parents when they are old.

Blown into four or five big chunks by the shell, he is not really recyclable : at best he is about 15 cents worth of plant fertilizer when he is buried.

All that money in raising him, all that future return via his employment income ----- gone, gone, gone, in an instant.

Ignore scientists' bafflegab : entropy is war, end of story

The car, used daily as a taxi, also is blown into a few big pieces, but is "recyclable" --- albeit as scrap steel. $15,000 car to $100 in scrap metal --- in an instant.

The building, home to a dentist's clinic is worth say $100,000, independent of the land it sits on, which we will claim ins undiminished in value, despite being used as a battlefield.

Badly damaged, it will cost another $5,000 just to tear it down, before we can even think of rebuilding on the same site. The value of the carted away rubble, minus cost of cartage and disposal/sale is a negative $1000 dollars.

Surprisingly perhaps, much of the heavily built and very valuable dentistry equipment inside the building is virtually undamaged and can be easily returned to a useful long life ----- but only if it is got to, before the elements rust it to bits. And that is iffy : depending on the state of the war raging around it - and the weather.

I call these real life examples, taken from WWII,  pure entropy (useful to useless) , won't you ?

No comments:

Post a Comment