#thirdworldproblems

by on February 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm in Current Affairs | Permalink

If a case of soap is pilfered from a U.S. military base here or pinched from a NATO shipping container, it will probably, sooner or later, end up for sale in the Bush Market, a sort of thieves’ outlet mall in central Kabul.

Named after George W. Bush, the U.S. president who launched the war in Afghanistan, the bazaar has flourished for more than eight years, thanks to the long presence of foreign troops that provided war booty aplenty. But in the Obama era, with its steady withdrawal of U.S. forces, the good times are ending in the sprawling hive of vendors who hawk mountains of Pop-tarts and enough Head & Shoulders shampoo to combat the dandruff of untold army divisions.

The story is here, and for the pointer I thank Peter Metrinko.  By the way:

A pack of Wrigley’s 5 gum fetches $2, more than in the States.

anon February 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Your tax dollars at work!

RM February 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I think that simplifies the situation a bit too much. We are over there because of some benefits, no? It would takes lots of pop-tarts, shampoo, and gum to outweigh the benefits. If you want to make other arguments for why the U.S. should not be there, e.g., it is simply hard winning a war in Afghanistan, that would be fine. Arguments based on 0.005 percent of the costs, don’t seem justified.

anon February 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

We are over there because of some benefits, no? It would takes lots of pop-tarts, shampoo, and gum to outweigh the benefits. If you want to make other arguments for why the U.S. should not be there, e.g., it is simply hard winning a war in Afghanistan, that would be fine.

Well, first, lighten up.

Second, since you asked, what *are* the benefits?

Third, if you want to make any arguments for why the U.S. should be there, that would be fine.

That is all.

Rahul February 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

>>>, what *are* the benefits?<<<

New markets for Wrigley's and Procter&Gamble?

anon February 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

@Rahul
That made me laugh.

More crony capitalism!

AADL February 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

In libertarian theory stolen property should be returned to its rightful owner (or heirs), if that is possible. For example, if a thief, Smith, steals Jones’s legally-owned money, then it should be given back to him. Jones may (or may not) elect to prosecute Smith.
The State, a criminal entity and pure public parasite that obtains resources by theft, is praxeologically in the same position as Smith. (It justifies its thievery by invoking the Keynesian multiplier, national security, and other absurdities, unlike Smith, who is too much of a gentleman to shoot anyone down without mercy, who resists his demands.) So the traders in the article obtain these goods from the U.S. “defense” entity, and are therefore taking property obtained with money stolen from U.S. taxpayers. The property is therefore rightfully owned by the taxpayers, not the U.S. state entity. They are in effect liberating the property, which is their right. In fact anyone has a right to take it, just like anyone has a right to go into any U.S. government building and take any property, a computer, etc., and put it back in the private sector, from which it was stolen, second hand.

Ray Lopez February 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm

That’s about as likely a rationale as Oscar Pistorius shooting his girlfriend in the head because he was trying to break down the door behind which she was hiding, with gun bullets, after accidentally shooting her (and accidentally beating her in the skull with a cricket bat). Won’t work. BTW stealing from the military canteen, where food is subsidized by the state, and reselling these goods on the local black market is a time-honored tradition in the US military.

IVV February 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

How is prosecution and enforcement of property law possible without a State? Otherwise it’s my Law against your Law.

Jody February 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Social norms and convention.

They still make most of society work.

Arguably, we only follow social norms and laws are just focal points for the social norms.

IVV February 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

My social norm against your social norm, then.

I guess that growing up a minority member in various ways teaches you not to trust “the way everyone else does it” as a guiding principle.

Jody February 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

And although we are both minorities depending on how you slice it, we nonetheless just interacted peaceably and successfully without a law to guide us due to mutually understood means of interacting, which is also known as… a social norm.

IVV February 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Sarcasm is peacable?

Jody February 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Sarcasm is peacable?

You appear to be claiming that via sacrasm you are attempting to be argumentatively hostile and specifically to me in this thread.

If so, there are reasons why shunning and exit are universal societal norms.

Good day.

IVV February 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Maybe I’m reading too much into your ellipsis in your previous comment, then. It seemed like an attempt at sarcasm to me. But then again, I may be misinterpreting it.

You are still free to leave. I cannot stop you, nothing social about that.

AADL February 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm

The food in the military canteens is paid for with stolen money. The private suppliers (farmers and food firms) are subsidized, not the food itself. The military canteens would not exist in a free society, because the (state) military would not exist. Defense services would be privately produced, just as food would be–sans subsidies. Yes, reselling these goods is indeed a time-honored tradition.
Now head over to the closest government office and liberate some property, a computer, etc.

Jan February 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Insights like these are the reason i love the comments section here.

Cliff February 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I have never seen a comment like this before in about 5 years.

Nyongesa February 19, 2013 at 9:25 am

I have, but I’m still waiting for the insight therein. Dueling abstract absolutes don’t make for very good thought experiments.

Andre February 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

A fitting tribute to a deserving president. How are the deals at the ‘Who cares if he threw his shoe at me’ discount footware mart. How about the ‘is our children learning’ educational center?

Ed February 19, 2013 at 4:03 am

Here is what I got from the story. Business is bad at the Bush Market. The local vendors are worried that their supply of cheap consumer goods is drying up because the U.S. military is leaving Afghanistan. Businesses are failing because of this.

You could normally rely on the commentators here to come up with half a dozen ironical comments on this situation, especially given the topics this blog usually covers.

C February 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

“A pack of Wrigley’s 5 gum fetches $2, more than in the States.”

C’Mon pull the other one. My experience of that type of market both in the U.S. and abroad is that the price usually starts at as much as you want to pay and can move down from there.

allan February 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

“If a case of soap is pilfered from a U.S. military base here or pinched from a NATO shipping container, it will probably, sooner or later, end up for sale in the Bush Market, a sort of thieves’ outlet mall in central Kabul.”

Refreshing to see plain English used to describe an economic problem. Of course the passage refers to Afghan thieves. If the reference was to U.S. corporations making billions by war profiteering, then it would have been worded in econo-junk speak:

Marginal post-transit leakage has led to non-traditional market re-allocation of consumer goods with accompanying price instability.

Alexei Sadeski February 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I think that “Not From The Onion” would have been more appropriate than #thirdworldproblems

Babirussa de Sulawesi February 24, 2013 at 7:30 am

Very good post. Excellent

John

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: