DEFENSE SPENDING AND INFLATION

A less peaceful world tends to be inflationary. German bunds are probably shorts.

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War is inflationary. And the end of wars are deflationary. US CPI shows three spikes - WWI, WWII and Vietnam War.

Of course the counter argument to that is the US only just ended its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, so are only some wars are inflationary. So how can we tell inflationary wars from non-inflationary wars? One way that wars can be inflationary is that they tighten the labour market. Government workforces tend to expand during periods of war, and then decrease during periods of peace. We can see that the Korean War, and Vietnam War both elevated military employment, but the Iraq and Afghanistan wars so no increase in employment.

Another way of looking at it, and with up to date data is total government employment as a percentage of private sector employment, which has shown a constant decline since the 1970s.

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