Secret Economics: The Economic Impact of the Vietnam War
This paper is an analysis of the economic impact that the Vietnam War had on the American economy.
This paper attempts to estimate what the real total economic cost of the Vietnam War was to the United States. The paper concludes that a reasonable estimate of the economic impact of the Vietnam War on the American economy is that an entire year’s worth of productive activity was used to fight the war.
The Vietnam War was the defining experience for a generation of Americans. Indeed, it is arguably one of the defining experiences of America as a whole in the Twentieth Century. Its impact on the men who fought there, the men (and women) who did not, the American military in general, American society and popular culture during and following the war has been well documented. However, it was not just a life changing experience for soldiers and protestors, or a force for social change, or even an inspiration for thousands of books and dozens of movies. War is not least an economic event. In addition to being a military defeat, a political blunder and a human tragedy, the Vietnam War was also an economic disaster.