War Profiteers Are A Sign Of A Profoundly Sick Society

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readSep 20, 2023


Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

“War is good for business.”

So reads a quote from an arms industry executive in a recent Reuters article titled “At London arms fair, global war fears are good for business” about Europe’s biggest arms show, the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International. You will probably be unsurprised to learn that Reuters does not name the war profiteer whose quote inspired their headline.

The article describes the way the war in Ukraine and brinkmanship in Taiwan is leading to surging profits for the military industrial complex, with the UK doubling its arms exports in 2022 and worldwide military spending expected to continue to rise by four percent each year for the next five years. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, European military spending rose 13 percent in 2022 alone, bringing total global spending to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion.

“We are extremely busy,” an exaltant head of sales at an armored steel company tells Reuters.

War is good for business, and it’s expected to get even better. The world’s largest military contractor Lockheed Martin saw its stock rise by a whopping 37 percent last year — helped along by taxpayer-sponsored stock buybacks — and in a report titled “Lockheed Martin: Huge Growth Ahead”, an investment analyst for AlmaStreet Capital predicted last month that Lockheed’s massive profits will only continue to climb. Calling the escalated geopolitical tensions in the current political atmosphere “the most favorable condition that Lockheed Martin could possibly operate under,” the article’s author writes the following:

“Governments worldwide are increasing their budget for defense and security under this heightened geopolitical tensions worldwide. The US government is not an exception. As the largest contractor to the US government, Lockheed Martin is bound to be the biggest beneficiary of the increased defense budget. Given that the company already reached approximately 8% of YoY net sales growth in 2Q23, I believe escalating geopolitical tensions along with easing macroeconomic conditions would allow Lockheed Martin to soon achieve double-digit growth in net sales by the end of the year.”

So it’s no wonder that Lockheed CEO James Taiclet called the most recent hike in the US military budget “as good an outcome as our industry or our company could ask for.” There are vast fortunes riding on governments equipping themselves to kill large numbers of human beings.

There’s a popular quote, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society,” commonly attributed to Jiddu Krishnamurti but most likely coined by Kurt Vonnegut’s son Mark. Whenever I read reports like this about corporations raking in billions from death, suffering, and extremely dangerous acts of brinkmanship between military powers, I always find that phrase “a profoundly sick society” rattling around in my head.

It’s hard to imagine a society sicker than one in which corporations are not only allowed to profit from war and militarism, but to actually push for more of it using campaign donations, lobbying, and the funding of influential warmongering think tanks. It’s no less evil than if corporations were allowed to slaughter foreigners like livestock and sell their body parts for profit at industrial scale; the only thing that’s different is the payment plan. And yet the people who do this are celebrated as respected job creators instead of thrown into cages like the monsters they are.

This is not the sort of civilization we should strive to be well-adjusted to. It is no sign of health to be well-adjusted to a society in which someone can become a billionaire selling weapons of mass murder after lobbying the government to perpetrate those murders. It is no sign of health to be well-adjusted to a society in which the military industrial complex launders information through the media to promote its deadly products and agendas. It is no sign of health to be well-adjusted to a society in which war profiteering corporations can reap massive quarterly profits in a proxy war that was provoked by the west while pouring fortunes into think tanks which helped manufacture consent for those provocations and which spin the west’s actions in a positive light for the media.

If this society could give rise to something so depraved as the military industrial complex, then it is not the sort of society we should seek to blend in with. This is the sort of society we should want to stick out like a sore thumb in. The sort of society in which we should be swimming against the current when everyone else is swimming with it. The sort of society in which we say a resounding NO to things that everyone else is saying yes to.

This society has failed as spectacularly as anything can possibly fail. We live in a mind-controlled dystopia where war profiteers get to steer public policy, where the entire biosphere is being fed into the wood chipper of global capitalism while we rapidly accelerate toward nuclear armageddon. This is the most insane civilization anyone could possibly design. We should seek dissent and divergence from it to the fullest extent possible.


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