Friday, October 16, 2009

Afghan War Math 101

We are told US is spending \$3.6 billion a month in Afghanistan for its war effort. A Month! Read the report here.

Population size in Afghanistan is about 33 million based on CIA estimate. So help me out with the math. \$3.6 billion divided by 33 million = \$109,100 a MONTH! Per capita GDP is put at \$800 a YEAR. So, let's say it is an underestimate and we put the GDP at \$1000 a YEAR.

Imagine if Uncle Sam did the same in Afghanistan as in Iraq bringing cash in a fleet of 747s and give it away to every Afghan in that country even at \$1000 a month, do you think it might make better sense? \$1000/month giveaway = 12x annual GDP/capita = 99% savings for Uncle Sam.

Where did my math go wrong?

If my \$ "policy" were to be implemented, do you think Afghans would still want to shoot at US soldiers or would they rather leave their AK47s at home and instead line up at month end to collect their \$1000?

"Freshwater" economists would love this, right? A market solution in which peace is traded for \$ on a voluntary basis.

EVen if the Afghan were to up their price for peace, say at \$3000 a month, there should still be a huge savings since USA is spending \$109,100 a month there. More than money, lives will be saved. US budget deficit would be done. Lots of beneficial "externalities" in this policy.

My idea would never happen, of course. I would be naive to think otherwise. Merely asking whether it is more (or less) mindless that what is going on out there.