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Military head price

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It just said on the News that the UK military is running a deficit of several billion pounds.

It occurs to me that this is inevitable: military activities are not normally considered to bring in an income. Therefore, all expenditure on the military, surely, puts them into deficit?

Rather than adopt a loot/pillage/eBay policy to recoup the losses, it is surely better to simply place a price on each enemy killed, each aircraft or tank destroyed, or each acre of territory recaptured.

To calculate the relevant amounts, we can probably start with the assumption that, over the course of recorded history, the UK militia has made neither a net profit (otherwise, obviously, we would have expanded it) nor a loss (otherwise we would have eliminated it). We can therefore make an estimate of the relevant pricing schedule, based on historical data.

This new reckoning will, at least, allow the military to keep their deficit under control or, with a bit of luck, reduce it and some day turn a profit.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2012

Prize Money http://en.wikipedia...al_Navy_prize_money
Self-Financing Navy ? [8th of 7, Jun 30 2012]

[link]






       A price? Showing as a liability in whose accounts?
calum, Jun 30 2012
  

       Have we learned nothing from the recent banking crisis?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2012
  

       It's not a question of where the cost ultimately lies - it lies where it always lies - it's a question who has to account for it in the various intermediate stages to the proles.
calum, Jun 30 2012
  

       I think it's simplistic to count scalps - rather, we should consider contracts made, pipelines laid, goods traded and controlled by "us" and not "them".   

       In that sense, a simple "Rumsfeld" index could be instigated, and a virtual fund established that shows the direct profits made from foreign adventures.
zen_tom, Jun 30 2012
  

       The imperialist military model was the only really profitable one, but it seems that has to be eventually paid for too.   

       Everything really has to be weighed against what it is going to cost in the future. Maybe killing one person right now is cheaper than killing an entire brooding brood of that person's later. Maybe it's alright to pay less for something in the future but do it right now on credit.
rcarty, Jun 30 2012
  

       // it seems that has to be eventually paid for too. //   

       Yes, but almost invariably by impoverished farmers in hot countries far away, so that's all right.   

       [MB], you are describing exactly the "bounty" paid to crews of the Royal Navy through several hundred years of its history. When an RN ship captured an enemy, it was assessed "In Prize" and a value apportioned, called "Head Money" (based on the size of the crew) and "Gun Money" (The number of guns carried, if it were a warship). The shares in this money were apportioned to the crew by a fixed formula, according to rank. The Captain got a substantial bag of gold, and the able seamen got about enough copper coin to get blind drunk on their next run ashore, if any.   

       [marked-for-removal], not an original idea.
8th of 7, Jun 30 2012
  

       //not an original idea.// Ah, but the introduction of such a scheme to the modern English armed forces...   

       *sigh* fair enough. I was just bemused to hear that our armed forces were running "a deficit", and failed to see how it could be otherwise.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2012
  

       // failed to see how it could be otherwise //   

       We suggest you consult the memoirs of Robert Clive (India), Sir Stamford Raffles (Singapore and Malaya), Cecil Rhodes (South Africa and Rhodesia) and Garnet Wolseley (Egypt), or the little-known but very useful work by Arthur Wellesley entitled "How To Win Enormous Areas Of Other People's Territory And Influence People" which is sadly out of print.
8th of 7, Jun 30 2012
  

       This simply wouldn't work, military accounting practices being what they are. Just checking DoD Publication O-377.25-K, “Defense Contractor Body Parts Valuation Guide” (rev. 10/2011) reveals the following:   

       HEAD, HUMAN (WITHOUT HAIR) (NECK NOT ATTACHED) ..............$1,905.77   

       I mean, come on. No sane person would pay more than two or three hundred for a human head, even /with/ hair and neck.
ytk, Jun 30 2012
  

       Depends whos head it is, shirley ? For example, two grand would be a snip to get the head of, say, Donald Trump ...
8th of 7, Jul 01 2012
  

       It's more a question of accountancy than of market value. Perhaps the government could stockpile them at an artificial price?   

       In any event, it's more of a fee-for-service thing, I think. (I might pay a gardener to weed the north- east asparagus bed, but I don't particularly want the weeds.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2012
  

       preposterous rant. [-]
Voice, Jul 01 2012
  

       // I might pay a gardener to weed the north- east asparagus bed, but I don't particularly want the weeds. //   

       Your family didn't pay his father, or his granfather before him. We understand his great-grandfather had never even seen coins, the usual medium of exchange being carrots, turnips and potatoes. Introducing the outside staff to the concept of a cash economy might set a very dangerous precedent.   

       It would not be fair to take the weeds from them anyway- what else would they eat?
8th of 7, Jul 01 2012
  

       // I might pay a gardener to weed the north- east asparagus bed, but I don't particularly want the weeds. //   

       Your family didn't pay his father, or his granfather before him. We understand his great-grandfather had never even seen coins, the usual medium of exchange being carrots, turnips and potatoes. Introducing the outside staff to the concept of a cash economy might set a very dangerous precedent.   

       It would not be fair to take the weeds from them anyway- what else would they eat?
8th of 7, Jul 01 2012
  

       //preposterous rant. [-]//   

       I second that. Equally, though, is it not preposterous to talk of the military as 'running a deficit'?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2012
  

       Sort of, but not entirely. If you look at national defense as a necessary measure for a country, that implies it offsets some other cost. The price, if that's what cost is being reduced down to, of keeping a military should be weighed against the price of not keeping a military. Everything considered, the military might be worth the entire value of the economy less the military budget.   

       As for the military being a profitable venture in terms of generating its own revenue, there's not really a good contemporary model for that. Military can rent and sell assets to other countries. They can charge a fee for mercenaries. They can sell military research intelligence and technologies. They can secure rich oil resources and install friendly governments. etc. But mainly they keep the country they protect from being reduced to rubble, which quite frankly is less valuable than in tact stuff.
rcarty, Jul 01 2012
  

       ytk [+]
pashute, Jan 21 2016
  

       I was about to say that this was a brilliant idea, until I realized that it was mine and therefore probably not.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 21 2016
  
      
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