Perpetual War? Bitcoin Fixes This

Rick Messitt

Written By Rick Messitt: Content creator and Bitcoin educator at The Bitcoin Way.

If you’ve been anywhere near the internet this week, you’ll have heard the war horns being blown loud and clear once again. The Ukraine - Russia war grinds on and now Iran has waded into direct conflict with Israel, all while Palestine continues to get pounded into dust.

It’s a sad situation and ultimately there will be no winners amongst the general populations of any of the nations involved. Countless lives will be lost, cities will be levelled, and many shocking atrocities will be committed under the pretence of ‘doing what’s right’, which of course looks different depending on which side you’re on.

Frustratingly, a lot of people will get dragged into supporting one team or the other as the masses get whipped up into a predictably confrontational frenzy.  There are countless news organisations and social media influencers who are all too happy to fan the flames of war in return for the boost in engagement. We find ourselves in a world where ‘likes’ are valued more than more than human lives.

The war drums are thumping, and it seems it won’t be long until the whole world is marching to their beat.

If we can manage to avoid the frenzy, retain a cool head, and look at these wars objectively, then we can start to make more sense of who exactly is beating the war drum and why. We can start exploring more interesting questions like:

“Why do we live in a world of perpetual war when the vast majority of the global population just want to live out their lives in peace?”

Given we live in supposed democracies, if war is unpopular then surely it wouldn’t be so frequent and if it did occur, wouldn’t last particularly long. So, how do Governments repeatedly drag us into conflict after conflict despite not having the support and will of the people they supposedly serve?

Well one of the main reasons Governments can wage endless war is because with fiat currency they can print endless money to fund it. But would adopting Bitcoin really fix this?

War: A Perpetual Feature of Human History

War has been a constant feature throughout human history. In the pursuit of land, wealth and power, humans have consistently used force as a method to obtain them. Earth’s resources are finite, and just like animals in nature, humans are inevitably going to compete over them. Surely then, war and violence are to some extent unavoidable.

This is a reasonable line of thinking. To propose that human beings can find a way of organising themselves in such a way that eradicates violence completely is a nice idea but almost certainly unachievable. There will always be someone willing to use force to get what they want and to secure for themselves a larger slice of the world’s limited resources.

We mention this because at no point are we going to suggest that the world on a Bitcoin standard would be a blissful utopia where violence no longer exists. History shows us that war was being waged under sound monetary standards like gold long before fiat currency even existed. It's fair to say that sound money or not, governments from time to time will find reasons to go to war, and on occasion will be able to convince people to support it.

The crucial difference on a sound monetary standard however is those last 5 words…. ‘Convince people to support it’. Instead of claiming that Bitcoin can put an end to war and violence completely, what we are going to suggest is that by adopting Bitcoin, people around the world can significantly curtail their government’s ability to commit violence without their consent.

Given that it’s our governments that have the biggest, most destructive weapons (and worryingly itchy trigger fingers), forcing them to seek consent before they can wage war would have significantly profound effects.

Sound Money Limits War

When the world operated on sound money, governments didn’t have the ability to simply print more of it into existence. Just like governments can’t magically create more Bitcoin they also can’t easily create more gold. This means that when operating under a gold standard, the only way a government could raise money to fund war was to raise it via directly taxing the general population. For this to work it would therefore be necessary for governments to convince the people they govern that going to war is a good idea and is in their best interest.

Even if governments do initially manage to raise support and taxes for war, without the ability to simply print money, they will need to sustain popular support for the war if they don’t want their campaign to be short lived. The problem with maintaining support for war however is that very few people benefit from it other than executives from defence contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. War is unfathomably expensive, and it doesn’t take long for the general population to lose interest in funding it when all they receive in return is friends and family members coming home in wooden boxes and their standard of living rapidly deteriorating.

This of course is a real frustration for governments and their friends in the defence industry. How are they supposed to build a functioning Corporatocracy and enrich themselves at your expense via lucrative defence contracts, if they keep having to ask permission from the very people they are trying to rip off? Perpetual war isn’t possible with finite money, eventually you lose the will of the people and there is no more approval to fund the war machine.

If only there was a way to fund war whenever they wanted without having to seek permission from the general population…

Infinite Money Drives Infinite War

Famously when WW1 started in the summer of 1914 people on both sides of the conflict predicted it would be “all over by Christmas”. Knowing what we know now, this prediction seems rather ridiculous, but of course hindsight is 20-20.

For people living in 1914, this prediction wouldn’t have sounded all that preposterous. In 1866 the Austro-Prussian war lasted only 7 weeks and 4 years later the Franco-Prussian war only lasted mere months. Based on their recent history, people in 1914 viewed war as something that would typically be short lived. One side would eventually dominate the other through having better tactics, better equipment or simply larger resources and the weaker nation would be forced to capitulate relatively quickly.

Why then did the nature of war change? And what contributed to WW1 and subsequent wars instead becoming so long, gruelling, and attritional?

Well, one major driving factor was that during WW1, both Britain and Germany abandoned the gold standard. With their gold reserves dwindling, printing money became the only means by which they could generate the immense amounts of capital required for war. By granting themselves the ability to create money from thin air, their war budget would no longer be limited by their gold reserves or by the amount of tax they could extract willingly from their constituents.

Instead, the ability to print money granted these nations the power to tax everybody indirectly without seeking permission. By debasing the nation’s currency, they would indirectly siphon the purchasing power of their entire population and redirect it toward their war effort without ever having to seek approval. The war budget had now been increased to include the entire wealth of every private citizen.

Waging war is an awful lot easier and a lot more profitable when you don’t need taxpayer’s permission to fund it.

Eventually by 1971 and after the end of WW2, all Western nations including the USA had abandoned the gold Standard in order to finance their various conflicts. By 1971, governments bought and paid for by a well-funded defence industry, could start and wage wars without the hassle of needing to garner public support for their plans first.

This ability to debase a nation’s currency to fund war creates a devastating mixture of incentives. Defence contractors make huge profits and use these funds to lobby the government and support candidates that are friendly to their interests. Similarly, government officials are lured to dance to the tune of defence contractors knowing that at the end of their term in office, they are likely to be lavishly rewarded by these companies. In 2021 defence contractors hired 46 former high-ranking Pentagon officials.

Both sides of this corporatocracy get immeasurably wealthy from perpetual war and with their licence to print money, can fund it indefinitely. Fiat money enables and creates the incentives for perpetual war. It’s a corrupt and gruesome business, but it’s incredibly profitable.

Bitcoin – Bringing the Warmongers to Heel

We would love to tell you that a world operating on a Bitcoin standard would create a world without war. But even a cursory glance throughout human history suggests this is likely to be wishful thinking. As long as there is any opportunity for one nation to take the wealth and resources of another by force, the incentive for war will remain.

What Bitcoin will do however is bring governments to heel. Bitcoin is a permissionless currency, but forces governments back into needing to ask for permission. It forces them to be public servants rather than masters. If your government wants to go to war, a Bitcoin standard ensures they can only do it when they gain both your support and funding.

This means that the next time Joe Biden wants to send $75bn to fund a war in Ukraine he can’t just print it at the expense of your purchasing power. On a Bitcoin standard, old Joe is going to have to collect it directly from you. Do you think most of the population would be willing to help pay the bill? How many of the loud voices calling for more money to fund the war would shrivel to a whisper if they realised it meant receiving a bill for $1,000 per household?

What a Bitcoin standard will do is make the true cost of funding war real and immediate. It won’t be abstracted away and kicked down the road as a debt burden for future generations anymore. When people are forced to choose between food and essential services or funding an unnecessary war, you’re likely to notice people become a lot less blood thirsty.

So, can Bitcoin put a permanent end to war and violence? We can always hope. Perhaps on a long enough timeline a dependable monetary standard will enable humanity at large to realise that co-operation leads to better outcomes than conflict. In times like these, who has time for such fantasies?

In the meantime, taking the decision to go to war away from the people who profit from it and putting it back under the purview of ordinary people can only be considered a step in the right direction. Bitcoin can create a far more peaceful world and the sooner the world properly adopts it, the sooner that can become a reality.

Adopt Bitcoin and Vote Peace

If you’re here, then it’s likely you’re sick of your government having a blank cheque book in your name that they can use to fund whatever nonsensical or maniacal idea they come up with next.

If that’s the case, then adopting a Bitcoin standard gives you back control. If you no longer use their coupons as your currency, they can no longer debase your wealth and tax you discreetly through inflation.

Exiting their system comes with huge benefits but it does require you to learn a few new skills. Being your own bank does require you to take on a lot more responsibility. If you’re ready to be the one in the driving seat, then we have the expertise to teach you how to get up to speed quickly and securely.

Choose peace, choose The Bitcoin Way

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