Audio: David Henderson’s Speech ‘An Economist’s Case for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy’’s economist David Henderson spoke to the Monterey Peace Coalition on Saturday, May 14th. Professor Henderson wrote of his speech:

Economics is a powerful tool for understanding the effects of government policy.
While economists use economics to understand the effects of government
intervention in the domestic economy, they have done little to use those same tools
to understand the effects of foreign policy, especially war. But doing so, and paying
particular attention to information problems, incentives, and unintended
consequences leads to a powerful case for a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Even World War II, the so called good war, had horrible consequences and the United States could have avoided it.

Please listen to the speech here.

To learn more about the Monterey Peace Coalition, please visit their website. sites now mobile-friendly

Last week, we were pleased to announce the first iPhone app, developed by Doug Sparling and available here. We know, however, that not everyone has an iPhone so our website manager Mike Ewens has been working to make the site more mobile-friendly. Any visit from the homepage to columnists, news, blog or Antiwar Radio will now detect your mobile device and make the text more readable. Please send feedback to mike at antiwar dot com.

How Many Troops will Obama Withdraw from Iraq?

The InTrade prediction markets allows individuals to bet on the winner of the presidential elections and US recession timings.  They can also be used to bet on US foreign policy.  The graph below shows the contract price for the outcome “Number of US Troops in Iraq (given a Democratic president) as of June 2010.”

A couple of features stand out.  First, the price was relatively constant for almost all of 2008.  Second, the price has fluctuated wildly since November 5th and is now 30% below its 2008 average.  Here is how you calculate the implied June 2010 troop level from the contract price:

expected 2010 troop level = contract price x 2000

As of the end of June [pdf], there were 183,100 troops participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  So a price for a “no change in troop levels” is 91.55 compared to a current price of 29.9. This price says that the Intrade “market” expects about 60,000 US troops in Iraq by the end of June 2010. (Note: As a thinly traded contract, it is difficult to infer true market expectations from the price.)  If you predict less “change” from this administration, you might think this is an extremely low number.  If you have little hope for real change, then perhaps you should purchase the contract today.  Contracts on other foreign policy-related issues are also available:

Gitmo closed by December 31st, 2009 (low number –> low predicted likelihood)

Gates as Sec. of Defense (high number –> high expected likelihood)

In Depth Coverage of the “South Ossetia War”

Loose Wire blog writes:

Wikipedia is doing a good job of chronicling the war in South Ossetia; its mention of several apparent cyberattacks on both sides makes me wonder whether this is the first instance of a physical war being accompanied by a cyberwar? All those listed on Wikipedia are not parallel attacks, i.e. they are not part of an actual physical war

See more at War in South Ossetia (2008) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia