Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:31 AM
I think it's mis-guided to compare the relative worth of dollars in different eras as an indication of the cost of war.
$14.50 buys a whole lot less than $2.00 did in 1944. Scroll back to 1874 or thereabouts and you could get a room, a meal, and a whore for the price of a cup of coffee today!
The cost of WW2 should not be measured as such. There are many things lost from WW2 that money simply couldn't buy, like national goodwill, innocence, or the very lives of people themselves.
Whilst watching the last episode of Ken Burn's "The Civil War", I was struck by the line of narration that went thus...
"...millions were haunted by the ghosts of people who should have been still alive."
Rather like the 'bean counters' that descended on our station whilst we were picking mangoes, asking questions about time and space, and working out how long it took us to pick and pack a box. I got angry with the man, telling him the time varied depending on all sorts of intangible factors that money couldn't affect, like the heat and the weather, the competancy of the picking crew, whether we were given a good lunch break or not, etc etc. This twit stalked away, muttering to himself with a flea in his ear.
You can't just put a dollar value on everything, add it all together, and proclaim "WW2 cost so and so.....this represents x amount in our time." It's meaningless. What we lost from WW2 were the millions whose intellects may well have changed the lives of everyone. Thats irreplacable, and the potential dollar value incalculable. But people in offices will always see things relative to themselves and their paper world.
Llamas are bigger than frogs.