How does the one estimate the cost of a conflict?

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The Politicus
Mar 18, 2022 02:31 PM 0 Answers
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There have always been eye-catching headlines about conflicts regarding their cost, e.g.

  • The war in Iraq has cost USA x billion USD
  • The US presence in Afghanistan has cost the exchequer y billion USD

How does one estimate a cost of a conflict? Should it always be an estimate? Is it possible to get an exact cost, like one does for any venture?

  • Is it possible to have profitable conflicts as opposed to loss-making conflicts?
    • The Empire left their colonies post World War 2, because they did not find it profitable to maintain a presence after their World War 2 losses.
    • Afghanistan was a loss-making conflict, as opposed to the profitable Iraq conflict
  • Is there a standard way of calculating the costs of a conflict, using double entry book-keeping accounting methods?
  • What are the tangible and intangible assets in a war?
  • Are the assets owned by Armed Forces subject to depreciation or appreciation? If yes, how does one calculate that?
  • Just like before embarking on a business venture, a firm calculates the profitability or, at the very least, sustainability of the said venture, do nations calculate the profitability or sustainability of an invasion/occupation?
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