The Economic Opportunity of Destruction


Written By: Jeff Behnke
Posted: 3/28/2003

Let’s say there is only one government in the world, one person in the world, one piece of land in the world, one house in the world, and you’ve just lost your job. As is the case of owning any property, the government makes you pay taxes on it, but since you own the only piece of land in the world and your an inch away from draining your own bank account, the government would be losing their only source of income. If this happened, unemployment would be up to 100% for the entire world, so it is not exactly in the government’s best interest to kick you off of your own land. So...what do they do?

Thankfully, someone in the government has a great idea: They will employ you to knock down your own house, paying you the money required for you to pay taxes back to them to stay there. A perfect alternative to the dismal future of 100% unemployment and 0 tax dollars filling up the government’s pockets, is it not? For if they did not employ you in some way, how then would the government pay its own employees?

With no alternative, you agree. You spend the next several weeks disassembling all of the pieces of your house to make way for what? You don’t know, and neither does the government. All you and the government knows is that unemployment is now at 0% (yipee!), you are happy because you are now bringing in enough money to pay for the piece of property upon which you live, so the government must be taking care of you. As a result you become a democrat.

Well, after the house is finally disassembled, you have made an absolute load of cash, enough cash, in fact, to take some leisure time off and just enjoy the good life. Only problem is, you feel that your plot of land is missing some perks--namely a house. Besides, the old one didn’t work quite right, the bathroom was kind of ugly, and the stairwell needed a little more room. You decide to take some time off to rebuild your house ’the way it should have been done’ in the first place.

Noting that you are now ’taking time off’ the government notes for the first time that the unemployment rate is null, instead of 0% or 100%. It means you are able to work, but you are choosing not to because you have enough money. A null unemployment rate is not inherently bad nor good--it means nothing, other than you now think about becoming a republican. Everything seems to be cool, but why pay the taxes?

Weeks pass, you pay your tax bills, and in your leisure time, you build your house from all of the pieces of scrap that was generated from tearing it down in the first place. You increase your skill set because putting things together sometimes takes more ingenuity than taking it apart. You become smarter, more agile, and more ready to take on problems in the future. The government MUST be doing its job.


Once your house is finally built, you kick back, relax--until you run out of money again. At which point the government gets nervous because they are about to lose their only source of income, namely you, and you are now looking for work. Unemployment can now potentially move from null to 100%--an expert is consulted who has already solved this problem once and who resorts to the same solution: "Employ him to knock down his own house."

This continues your entire life until you die, fertilizing the soil, and your child puts on the same gloves that you once wore to knock down your own house that your child has since ’inherited.’ He slips them on and sets off to rebuild. And tear down. And rebuild. And tear down. And rebuild. And tear down. His own property.

Is this progress?

And now we’re at war with Iraq. The government of the United States is pretty much saying that they will fix Iraq’s economy and displace the Iraqi dictator by destroying Baghdad and in effect ruining everything the Iraqi people have built. Why? Because someone will have to pay the people to rebuild. Rebuilding creates jobs, in effect giving the world the illusion of stability and the illusion of a healthy economy. Why ’illusion?’ Because eventually everything will be rebuilt, and the people will actually be in the same position as they were before the bombing began, minus a few oil fields.

My point? For a government to stay in power, they continually have to destroy the work of their own people. And in the case of the U.S., this also includes the work of other countries within a global economy. For a government that does not do this, there is no way to collect taxes, no employment, so there is an extremely high amount of economic opportunity in destruction. There are only so many things to build, so many houses you need, so many computers to buy, and then everything dries up. The only stimulus is to take out the sledge hammer and start pounding away. Or in the case of the U.S. with a very injured Dow Jones index, begin dropping bombs.

I support the U.S. merely because I live here and do feel somewhat threatened after 9/11. But I also support the conspiracy theorists who say the reasons we are doing so, or the end result that we are seeking is absolute bullshit. How can you say that there is NOT some ulterior motive when there are manifesto documents online written by (don’t hold your breath) Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Steve Forbes, Jeb Bush, and many others who are currently in power that sound like this:

“Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by limited budgets and pressing current missions, has seen funding for experimentation and transformation crowded out in recent years. Spending on military research and development has been reduced dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, during the mid-1980’s, when the Defense Department was in the midst of the Reagan buildup which was primarily an effort to expand existing forces and field traditional weapons systems, research spending represented 20 percent of total Pentagon budgets. By contrast, today’s research and development accounts total only 8 percent of defense spending. And even this reduced total is primarily for upgrades of current weapons. Without increased spending on basic research and development the United States will be unable to exploit the RMA and preserve its technological edge on future battlefields…Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

-September of 2000
--Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century

This document was written in September of 2000, exactly one year before 9/11. Afterwards, all of the dreams and wishes of those who participated in this manifesto were fulfilled by having a few thousand Americans killed on American soil by a terrorist attack. They even stated so!

I understand why people create conspiracy theories in this type of environment. They may not be right all the time or have all the facts straight, but what these theories do--and do very well--is apply an analogy to a certain situation that ’fits.’ The best conspiracy theorists are those who can paint a portrait using a set of colors from one environment and apply it evenly to another. The end result is we can finally see a glimpse into the true world of how things really are: Everything’s a matter of perspective, and if one perspective convinces enough people that it is the correct perspective, as is the case of the U.S. and its reasons for war against Iraq, that perspective suddenly becomes a reality that we are forced to deal with.

Perhaps all of this can be diverted somehow if you pay no taxes and hence do not have to knock down your own house or the houses of others everywhere just so the government can pay you to rebuild the same structures you were forced to tear down just to keep the economy floating. The logic of this is kind of lost in the grand scheme of things, but this is basically what occurs every time a new generation arises. Jobs have to be created, things have to be refreshed. Roads have to be rebuilt. And on and on. I, for one, would like the cycle to end. The only question is, if we’re such little people in the world, what can we do? Who do we turn to? Where do we go? I, for one, have no idea.