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The plunder described here is still assessed as less than a third of the aid and debt forgiveness granted to Germany, nevermind the order of magnitude that Chris was confabulating about.

You can quibble with the valuation, of course, but one and a half orders of magnitude is a pretty big quibble.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 06:53:34 AM EST
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The whole idea is obscene given the human toll.
by Upstate NY on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 09:39:54 AM EST
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cris0 is talking about the post WW II era while Jake is including the entire period from the end of WW I through the Marshall Plan. The US did change its plan part way through the post WW II era when it became concerned about the perceived thread from the Soviet Union. Before it was planning on turning Germany into a poor agricultural and resource extracting country. After, it was concerned to turn Germany into a pillar of opposition to the Soviets and supported the re-industrialization of Germany and encouraged the beginnings of the common market.

I recall being shown equipment in the Mechanical Engineering Lab at Oklahoma State University that had come from Germany in the early years after WW II. But given Germany's performance during and before WW II, a case could be made for the first policy: "Never Again!" Now, an argument can be made that they are accomplishing through economic means what they could not accomplish through military might.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 01:08:46 PM EST
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That is one take on what happened. Varoufakis' book, Modern Political Economics, has a lot of research that shows that in the immediate postwar period, the USA also had plans to recycle its surplus through Germany and extend its economic dominance. So it wasn't only a military strategic goal, but also an economic one. Varoufakis sees the Marshall Plan as the upshot of the US's rejection of a global surplus recycling mechanism as proposed at Bretton Woods. So, some form of Marshall Plan was already in the offing as soon as 1944.
by Upstate NY on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 02:01:15 PM EST
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Great book. I wish he had referenced his sources for the discussion of post war US planing. I strongly suspect his conclusions are based on biographies, memoirs and secondary works. It would be unreasonable to expect an economist to do the sort of primary source research to document such a claim. And this is not an area I ever studied in any significant way, but his conclusion seems so right.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:38:44 AM EST
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