Sunday, November 15, 2009

Opportunity Costs of War

When people discuss the costs of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they usually focus on the government expenditures which are approaching $1 trillion since 2001. Economists argue that society makes better decisions when decisions are based on opportunity costs - which include everything that is sacrificed when a choice is made.

According to the Military Casualty Information provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, as of November 7, 2009 there were 909 deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan) and 4,349 deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The number of U.S. military personnel wounded in action were 4,472 in the conflict in Afghanistan and 31,556 in Iraq. The value of these lives, and their lost contributions to society and the economy, are part of the opportunity costs of these wars.

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