The Economics of War, Part II: Trade Restrictions Make a Nation Weaker

International Liberty

Way back in 2010, I explained that Paul Krugman was wrong to think that wars were good for the economy.

Indeed, he was more wrong than usual. The additional spending for the military isn’t “stimulus,” so his usual Keynesian argument was misguided.

Moreover, he didn’t seem to understand that wars also destroy existing wealth.

Today we are going to look at how war can teach us another economic lesson.

The United States and other major nations have responded to Russia’s assault on Ukraine by imposing trade restrictions with Russia.

If protectionists are correct, these steps (effectively imposing an extreme Russian version of Biden’s “buy America” policy) should strengthen Putin.

Yet that’s obviously not the purpose of the sanctions.

Instead, officials from western nations understand that these trade barriers will weaken Russia’s economy.

By the way, this isn’t the only example of nations using trade restrictions to hurt their enemies.

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