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Old 04-24-2012   #81
Fuchs
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Fuchs
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Conscription is more expensive (monetary costs + human costs) than a volunteer army and thus suboptimal from the national point of view (,too).
AmericanPride
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(...)in GDP or military expenditures per capita(...)defense spending(...)increased spending
Furthermore, a discussion of a specific choice does not allow global developments to be taken as an argument as if there was a proved causal relationship.

Now try to understand. I did neither write about individual soldiers nor only about money. I wrote about general welfare - the country's general well-being.

I do harm to you when I force you to do something disgusting by pointing a gun at you. Such an action would not have any fiscal impact or GDP effect. Now imagine I'd do it to four million Americans every year. Something really, really disgusting. Four million times a year.
The general welfare of the U.S. would suffer because I would cause human costs.


Not monetarised enough?
Monetarise "national security" well first, or else the whole conscription thing lacks any revenue side!
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Old 04-24-2012   #82
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Originally Posted by Fuchs
I did neither write about individual soldiers nor only about money. I wrote about general welfare - the country's general well-being.

I do harm to you when I force you to do something disgusting by pointing a gun at you. Such an action would not have any fiscal impact or GDP effect. Now imagine I'd do it to four million Americans every year. Something really, really disgusting. Four million times a year.
The general welfare of the U.S. would suffer because I would cause human costs.


Not monetarised enough?
Monetarise "national security" well first, or else the whole conscription thing lacks any revenue side!
Americans are already conscripted for jury duty, education (up to the 12th grade), and to a smaller extent, community and charitable work through the school and prison systems. This is repeated every year to tens of millions of Americans. What are the "human costs" and how do we measure it? What are the "disgusting" "human costs" of military conscription and how do you measure it?
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Old 04-24-2012   #83
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Irrelevant.

I do not discuss the price of butter when I decide to buy a salami or not. Just stay on topic.

And I already showed that I'm not the first to monetarise the human costs, for the whole basis of conscription requires a "pro" side - National Security- which is not monetarised either.
On top of that, my first post explains enough to show that monetarising the human costs is not necessary for a conclusion.

Just read it again till you get what I meant, for I was really as clear as I could.
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Old 04-24-2012   #84
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Irrelevant.

I do not discuss the price of butter when I decide to buy a salami or not. Just stay on topic.

And I already showed that I'm not the first to monetarise the human costs, for the whole basis of conscription requires a "pro" side - National Security- which is not monetarised either.
On top of that, my first post explains enough to show that monetarising the human costs is not necessary for a conclusion.

Just read it again till you get what I meant, for I was really as clear as I could.
OK. Sure. Whatever. The "keep-reading-what-I-stated-because-it-was-clear-and-self-evident-until-you-agree-with-me" line is not an argument. Thanks for playing though!
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Old 04-24-2012   #85
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Sure it's no argument. Why should I keep providing new ones before you understand my original, central argument?

Arguments are meant to be weighed against each other. Makes no sense to dust off the scale before you know what to put on it.
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Old 04-24-2012   #86
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I happen to think Ricks is a moron when it comes to the application of historical analysis. And this does not gain you any traction.

You have clearly made up your mind on this issue. You also clearly have assembled propositions that support your position. When challenged, you simply assert that your position is correct and that others must supply information to prove that you're wrong. Regarding that 8.5% figure from the Civil War (which appears to be high...unless you count those who paid NOT to be drafted as having been drafted), you have posted nothing that indicates that an overall 8.5% manpower increase over a two-year period had a substantial impact, You simply insist that it must be so.

I haven't made an exhaustive study of all Union regimental returns, but there are some that I have fair experience with. California, to name one example, did not make use of conscripts, and their forces provided the majority of Frontier garrison troops west of Colorado. A recent history of the Army of the Tennessee makes little mention of draftees in the ranks of those regiments. The article I linked to earlier also indicates that impact in terms of numbers in Wisconsin from conscription was also low. Volunteerism was also stimulated by the use of bounties at the state level, and there were constant problems with "bounty-jumping" and substitute fraud as well. I'd be interested to know how many of those supposed 8.5% actually served in the ranks for any period of time and how many went over the hill soon after reporting.
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Old 04-24-2012   #87
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Default I think this sums up the thread nicely.

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Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
You claimed that an all-volunteer force is inherently more cost effective than a conscription force. In the case of the United States, I have demonstrated that to be false. So, instead of continually referring back to your original post, I recommend that you refute the argument and evidence I have laid out. Thanks.
It appears to me that the second sentence could more correctly read "In my opinion I have demonstrated that to be false" -- The opinions, numbers, anecdotes, citations, quotes and so forth of others not withstanding...

You guys have fun. Carl has it right, it's not going to happen so no worries.

P.S.

With respect to my commenting on Rick's credibility, FYI it was not done to lend credence to an opposing view, it was an aside merely to express distaste for Mr. Ricks and his ilk. There are few things more dangerous (or amusing / annoying in turns) than a passable intellect imbued with overweening self-righteousness and an, umm, enhanced view of own knowledge and worth. They are fun to poke at however...

Last edited by Ken White; 04-24-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012   #88
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Originally Posted by Steve
You have clearly made up your mind on this issue.
How is that any different from anyone else in this thread?

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Originally Posted by Steve
You also clearly have assembled propositions that support your position.
Again, how is that any different from anyone else in this thread? And, I would add, assembling favorable propositions for one's own argument is kind of essential to formulating an idea...

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Originally Posted by Steve
When challenged, you simply assert that your position is correct and that others must supply information to prove that you're wrong.
That is incorrect. I have provided a number of citations regarding my claims. There has been much in the way of counter-argument against my positions, but light in regards to counter-evidence; you, Entropy, and wm are the only ones to provide citations of some of your claims. And when wm and Entropy challenged my claims about comparing the 1940-1973 draft period to post-1973, I refined my argument and submitted my evidence.

So, in reality, the problem is that I am arguing against the general consensus, which is fine, but I take issue with that you expect a higher standard of proof for my argument. I don't see how your comment is not applicable to the majority of posters in this thread and therefore just as condemning of their propositions.

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Originally Posted by Steve
I haven't made an exhaustive study of all Union regimental returns, but there are some that I have fair experience with. California, to name one example, did not make use of conscripts, and their forces provided the majority of Frontier garrison troops west of Colorado. A recent history of the Army of the Tennessee makes little mention of draftees in the ranks of those regiments. The article I linked to earlier also indicates that impact in terms of numbers in Wisconsin from conscription was also low. Volunteerism was also stimulated by the use of bounties at the state level, and there were constant problems with "bounty-jumping" and substitute fraud as well. I'd be interested to know how many of those supposed 8.5% actually served in the ranks for any period of time and how many went over the hill soon after reporting.
As I have stated before, this information piques my curiosity, and it would be interesting to discover just how far that 8.5% really went; though, quite frankly, whether or not conscription played a major role in the Civil War is separate from whether or not conscription has positive effects when enacted.
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Old 04-24-2012   #89
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
The opinions, numbers, anecdotes, citations, quotes and so forth of others not withstanding...
Which "opinions, numbers, anecdotes, citations, quotes, and so forth"? I have addressed every relevant claim in turn. The two most compelling arguments are from Entropy, who argued that conscription may not be a practical solution to today's problems, and wm, who argued that conscription today may not provide the same benefits as it did during 1940 - 1973. I also agreed with Entropy that conscription is not necessarily the only or best solution for identified problems, and with wm that there are substantial differences between the 1940-73 economy and today's economy that may potentially affect benefits gained from conscription. Either way, that still leaves open the problems and costs of today's all-volunteer force (which you agreed is broken) and the prosperity gained from the use of conscription from 1940-1973.
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Old 04-24-2012   #90
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Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
As I have stated before, this information piques my curiosity, and it would be interesting to discover just how far that 8.5% really went; though, quite frankly, whether or not conscription played a major role in the Civil War is separate from whether or not conscription has positive effects when enacted.
You have stated several times (here "quite well"; here "8.5% reduction in force would have been quite significant" and later linking the outcome of the Civil War to conscription; and then here you state that "almost a tenth of all soldiers in the Union Army were draftees" without digging into the background which actually suggests (clearly states in some cases like Wisconsin) that the percentage who actually allowed themselves to be conscripted may have been lower...and I haven't seen any clear linkage indicating that those who were drafted served in any real capacity. And in some cases (California being one) there were no conscripts in their regiments.

You have provided no real citations to back up your Civil War claims. And your claims regarding its benefits to the overall war effort are likewise not supported aside from a random statistic. I think Ken has the right idea...
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Old 04-24-2012   #91
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I have not intentionally over-looked your claim, though I wonder on what basis you claim the whole "1940 - 73" time to be sui generis. There are significant differences in today's economy compared to the most recent draft era, a number of which are: increased financialization of the economy, higher concentrations of wealth in the upper echelons of society, and extremely low effective tax rates for the wealthy and corporations (who, as I noted, also have more of society's wealth). These may or may not be relevant to the effects of mass mobilization,though I think putting the 16.7% of youth that are unemployed to work (even if they're just mowing laws in the brigade footprint), is better than having that labor idle.
You have hoisted yourself by your own petard, refuting your own argument from analogy. Rather than showing why the 1940-73 period is not sui generis or, in other words, is similar to the current time, the above quotation by you points out that the economy of today is relevantly dissimilar from the economy that you alleged received such a boost from conscription between 1940 and 1973.

Not that I feel any real need to justify my claim regarding the uniqueness of 1940-73 but as a starting point I will submit that between 1941 and 1945, the US was engaged in a war that was fought on both sides of its ocean borders (Asia and Europe/MENA) with countries boosting armies that were peer competitors of, or better than, any other army in the world at the time. I think the German and Japanese armed forces were substantially better trained and equipped than the US Army until such time as they were attrited by the generally much-lower-tech, mass-produced materiel coming from the "Arsenal of Freedom" that was protected from attack by two major oceans.

By the way, I can tell you from experience as a soldier on casual duty status while awaiting orders, "mowing lawns in the brigade footprint" is far from meaningfiul employment. I suspect it would cause more harm than good to put a number of disaffected, because unemployed, youth to such work. Let's talk about diluting the the fighting strength, as the brigade has to use its troops to watch over the under-employed youth who are acting out in the brigade cantonment area. But I suspect my experience as a troop during those golden years of the draft are just anecdotes to be discounted, as are my subsequent experiences as an officer while the Army moved from a mixed force through VOLAR to the AVF (or all vounteer Army as we called it when I retired).
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Old 04-25-2012   #92
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Originally Posted by wm View Post
You have hoisted yourself by your own petard, refuting your own argument from analogy. Rather than showing why the 1940-73 period is not sui generis or, in other words, is similar to the current time, the above quotation by you points out that the economy of today is relevantly dissimilar from the economy that you alleged received such a boost from conscription between 1940 and 1973.
No -- I clearly stated that while there are differences, neither you or I have established to what extent they are relevant. According to your strict interpretation, we might as well discard all of history as a useful tool in discussing policy and it's consequences since history never literally repeats itself. I'm open to a discussion about those economic factors I named (and others if you have them) since I'm not wholly convinced they are irrelevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm
Not that I feel any real need to justify my claim regarding the uniqueness of 1940-73 but as a starting point I will submit that between 1941 and 1945, the US was engaged in a war that was fought on both sides of its ocean borders (Asia and Europe/MENA) with countries boosting armies that were peer competitors of, or better than, any other army in the world at the time. I think the German and Japanese armed forces were substantially better trained and equipped than the US Army until such time as they were attrited by the generally much-lower-tech, mass-produced materiel coming from the "Arsenal of Freedom" that was protected from attack by two major oceans.
While this is factually true, it doesn't contradict or refute the positive economic outcomes gained from mobilizing millions of men between 1940 and 1973. US spending in the GWoT exceeded that of WW2, and faces more numerous disparate threats that require a large, flexible force to manage. What was relevantly unique about WW2 was the scale of destructive power unleashed, but, as you stated, this had no direct impact on the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm
By the way, I can tell you from experience as a soldier on casual duty status while awaiting orders, "mowing lawns in the brigade footprint" is far from meaningfiul employment. I suspect it would cause more harm than good to put a number of disaffected, because unemployed, youth to such work. Let's talk about diluting the the fighting strength, as the brigade has to use its troops to watch over the under-employed youth who are acting out in the brigade cantonment area. But I suspect my experience as a troop during those golden years of the draft are just anecdotes to be discounted, as are my subsequent experiences as an officer while the Army moved from a mixed force through VOLAR to the AVF (or all vounteer Army as we called it when I retired).
I agree with you that there is much time wasting in garrison. The point is that an 18 year old mowing lawns is at least making a paycheck and putting his disposable wages back into the economy. This is not true for the 16.7% of unemployed youth for whom jobs simply do not exist. As for your personal experiences, they're great. But yours, like mine I described elsewhere on this site, are not established to be the norm by virtue of us experiencing them.
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Old 04-25-2012   #93
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. I think Ken has the right idea...
Ok. Take care!
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Old 04-25-2012   #94
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Talking Once more into the Breach -- or Crater..

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Which "opinions, numbers, anecdotes, citations, quotes, and so forth"? I have addressed every relevant claim in turn. The two most compelling arguments are from Entropy, who argued that conscription may not be a practical solution to today's problems, and wm, who argued that conscription today may not provide the same benefits as it did during 1940 - 1973....
May I suggest that those points were also made by others.

For possible use in other discussions, you might consider that their comments while similar to others were different in that they made an effort to respond to you in kind and inparallel, i.e. with metrics and citations and this resonated with you (and kudos to both of them for that). As did Fuchs and Steve Blair (though their good efforts were not parallel to yours) but some of us did not bother to do that -- I for one am far too lazy to marshal all that for a discussion board in addressing an esoteric topic unless pressed. I'm also too old to change. Mea Culpa..

Obviously, your inclination is toward the academic approach and that is laudable. However, as I'm sure you know, not everyone is so inclined and while I do not suggest you change your approach, I suggest that semi automatic rejection of ideas or concepts not documented in academic style may deprive you of some useful thoughts. As I convinced a RAND researcher some years ago, anecdotal evidence is still evidence and it can often be more correct or appropriate than poorly chosen metrics. Correlation does not imply causation...

Just a thought. Enjoyed the discussion.
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Old 04-25-2012   #95
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Default Pause at the crater's edge?

Looking for some information I came across this British comedian's viewpoint, from 2008 (conscription is not an issue in the UK):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua1VQZC8X9c

The information I sought was who today had military conscription and in a quick search there is this 2008 map:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co..._the_world.svg
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Old 04-25-2012   #96
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Default Once more into the Breach

I have followed the arguments presented here, which all apply to the American use of an AVF.

So may I add a couple of points:

1. If an economic impact is sought, especially with youth unemployment, there are far better and probably cheaper, less dangerous options.

2. If the USA continues to engage in combat and operations near combat is there not a danger that conscripts will be deployed alongside non-conscript, professional allies, for example whose skill level will exceed theirs?

3. In the Western world and in parts of the developing world the ethos and practice of professionalism has spread across many occupations. For the USA to argue a part-professional, part conscript military deploying outside the USA could invite ridicule.

I shall now retreat to my "bunker".
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Old 04-25-2012   #97
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No -- I clearly stated that while there are differences, neither you or I have established to what extent they are relevant.
You said that the differences "may or may not be relevant," which is a tautology. Using a disjunction with two contradictory terms as its disjuncts provides no real information content. It is, instead, rather obfuscatory, does not really further understanding, and does not advance the search for truth.

I think that the relevance of the differences you described, viz., "increased financialization of the economy, higher concentrations of wealth in the upper echelons of society, and extremely low effective tax rates for the wealthy and corporations" is rather patently obvious. The impacts of dumping a rather large pool of mostly semi-skilled laborers who are more used to breaking things than to building them (which is at bottom what a demobilized military force is with regard to the civilian economy--whether in 1945 or in 2012) will be significantly different in a service-based economy (2012) than in a industrial/product-based economy (1940-1973). Service-based economies require skills that are not those normally connected with "servicing targets," as an euphemism for combat goes. They include people skills and salesmanship skills, the kinds of things currently identified as lacking in the force that needs to "win friends and influence people" to counter an insurgency successfully.

By the way, your exposition to date has not made clear how a large influx of laborers will realign the "effective tax rates for the wealthy and corporations" or draw "wealth from the upper echelons of society." Changing tax rates requires legislation and realigning wealth requires either a willingness on the part of the wealthy to part with their money or legislation to force income redistribution (for example, a simple graduated income tax system with no exemptions whatsoever).
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According to your strict interpretation, we might as well discard all of history as a useful tool in discussing policy and it's consequences since history never literally repeats itself. I'm open to a discussion about those economic factors I named (and others if you have them) since I'm not wholly convinced they are irrelevant.
As I trust my second paragraph, supra., demonstrates, I have not applied a strict definition to determine relevance. I also have not played fast and loose with statistics, based on questionable assumptions, that amount to over-generalizations. I have tried to ensure that I use the amount of precision appropriate to the subject matter at hand.

Even though my avatar is of Don Quixote, I have decided to stop tilting at this windmill. This will be my last response to your mutating arguments for what seems to me to be a dogmatic, ill-founded position.
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Old 04-25-2012   #98
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Originally Posted by david
If an economic impact is sought, especially with youth unemployment, there are far better and probably cheaper, less dangerous options.
I agree. I never claimed conscription to be the only or most effective method in addressing the economic problems faced by this country. You probably know as much as I do that there is much stronger resistance in the US than the UK to government intervention in the economy despite the large body of evidence suggesting that measured policy is actually quite effective (and with the ironic emphasis on massive government spending in defense). Such a conversation would be as much a critique of unregulated capitalism as of the problems and inefficiencies of the all-volunteer force identified earlier in this thread. How these two ideas interact would be an interesting conversation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by david
If the USA continues to engage in combat and operations near combat is there not a danger that conscripts will be deployed alongside non-conscript, professional allies, for example whose skill level will exceed theirs?
Indeed. This effect, and it's potential impact on the definitive and favorable termination of a conflict, has not been previously discussed.

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Originally Posted by david
. In the Western world and in parts of the developing world the ethos and practice of professionalism has spread across many occupations. For the USA to argue a part-professional, part conscript military deploying outside the USA could invite ridicule.
I suppose this depends on the substance, extent, and relevance of current ridicule of the US, its policies, its military forces, and their conduct and capabilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm
Even though my avatar is of Don Quixote, I have decided to stop tilting at this windmill. This will be my last response to your mutating arguments for what seems to me to be a dogmatic, ill-founded position.
Ok, see ya!
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Old 04-25-2012   #99
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
1. If an economic impact is sought, especially with youth unemployment, there are far better and probably cheaper, less dangerous options.

[…]

3. In the Western world and in parts of the developing world the ethos and practice of professionalism has spread across many occupations.
There does seem to me to be a certain "it should work well enough" attitude -- as opposed to shooting for "it should work as well as possible" -- inherent in the idea that conscription will both resolve labor woes and provide for military personnel needs.
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