When Talk of Guns and Butter Includes Lives Lost





AS the toll of American dead and wounded mounts in Iraq, some economists are arguing that the war's costs, broadly measured, far outweigh its benefits.

Studies of previous wars focused on the huge outlays for military operations. That is still a big concern, along with the collateral impact on such things as oil prices, economic growth and interest on the debt run up to pay for the war. Now some economists have added in the dollar value of a life lost in combat, and that has fed antiwar sentiment.

"The economics profession in general is paying more attention to the cost of lives cut short or curtailed by injury and illness," said David Gold, an economist at the New School. "The whole tobacco issue has encouraged this research."



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