Wars Shape Destiny — Money (Part 1)

Sud Alogu
5 min readNov 24, 2023

War isn’t just about fighting; it’s also about money. Some people make a lot of money when there’s a war. They sell guns, tanks, and other things that are used in fighting. This might sound wrong because war causes so much pain and suffering, but it’s true. There are companies and groups that get richer because of war.

It’s important for us to understand this. Knowing about the business side of war helps us see why some wars start and why they can last a long time. We learn that sometimes, wars are not just about disagreements between countries, but also about people wanting to make money.

In this video, we’re going to look at how this works. We’ll see who makes money from wars and how they do it. We’ll learn about the companies that make weapons and the groups that are involved in fighting. It’s sad to think that while many people suffer because of war, others are making money from it. But understanding this can help us see the whole picture of why wars happen.

In our video, we’ll look into who gains from long wars and why. We’ll ask why some want these wars to keep going.

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Historical Context

Throughout history, wars have been big business. Since ancient times, those supplying weapons, armor, or ships profited. In the Middle Ages, merchants sold arms and armor at high prices. During World Wars, companies made fortunes supplying everything from tanks to bullets. Post-WWII, the Cold War era saw arms dealers and defense contractors grow wealthy. In modern conflicts, big companies still profit, providing high-tech weapons and private security. It’s a pattern: war is a lucrative business for some.

With industrialization and globalization, the business of war transformed significantly. In the 19th and 20th centuries, wars became more about machines and mass production. Factories that once made cars or clothes switched to producing guns and ammunition. This era marked the rise of the military-industrial complex, where large companies began to specialize in creating weapons and military technology. Global trade networks meant these companies could sell arms worldwide, making war not just local, but a global business. Industrialization also led to the development of new weapons like tanks and planes, creating a new market for war supplies. The world wars demonstrated this shift, where nations’ industrial capacities often determined their military strength. The business of war became bigger, more complex, and more profitable than ever.

Who are the Major Beneficiaries from war?

  1. Defense Industry

The defense industry plays a critical role in modern warfare, primarily in the design, manufacture, and sale of weapons and military technology. This sector is vital for national defense and often heavily regulated by governments. Its influence extends beyond the battlefield, impacting economies, politics, and international relations.

  1. Military Technology Development: Companies in the defense industry are at the forefront of developing advanced military technologies, including aircraft, missiles, ships, and cybersecurity systems.
  2. Supply and Demand Dynamics: These companies respond to the needs of their government clients, often shaping their production based on current and anticipated conflicts. This creates a demand-driven market where conflict increases the need for advanced weaponry.
  3. Economic Impact: The defense industry significantly contributes to economies, especially in countries like the United States, Russia, and China, where defense contractors are major employers and innovators.

Case Studies of Major Defense Contractors

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, commands about 10% of the market share in the defense industry. In 2022, it reported over $65 billion in revenue, underlining its substantial economic influence. The company is especially renowned for its F-35 program, which is expected to cost around $1.5 trillion over its lifecycle. With approximately 114,000 employees globally, Lockheed Martin is a significant job provider. It invests about $1 billion annually in research and development, fueling advances in defense and technology. Their global reach extends to over 70 countries, using their products and services, including the 800 satellites they’ve built and launched, pivotal in areas like GPS and telecommunications. Additionally, their investment in cybersecurity is substantial, safeguarding sensitive data worldwide. Committed to environmental sustainability, Lockheed Martin aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 35% from 2010 levels by 2025. Furthermore, the company’s support for STEM education, through multi-million-dollar investments, highlights its role in nurturing future scientific and technological talent. These figures collectively paint a picture of a company with a significant and multifaceted impact on the world.

BAE Systems, a major player in the global defense industry, holds a significant market position with its wide range of defense and security products. In 2021, it achieved a revenue of approximately £21.3 billion (around $27 billion), demonstrating its substantial economic footprint. The company is known for its diverse portfolio, including naval ships, submarines, armored vehicles, and advanced electronics. BAE Systems employs over 85,000 people worldwide, making it a key job provider in several countries. Its investments in research and development are robust, driving innovation in defense technology. BAE Systems’ global presence is extensive, with operations in over 40 countries and customers in more than 100, emphasizing its international influence. The company’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. BAE Systems also plays a vital role in supporting STEM education initiatives, contributing to the development of future generations of engineers and scientists. These aspects underscore BAE Systems’ role as a major defense contractor with a far-reaching impact on the global stage.

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Northrop Grumman, a leading defense and aerospace company, is a major force in the global defense market. In 2021, it reported revenues of about $35 billion, underscoring its significant economic impact. With a workforce of approximately 90,000 employees, Northrop Grumman is a crucial employer, especially in the aerospace and defense sectors. Its product portfolio spans a wide range, from cutting-edge aerospace systems to advanced electronic warfare solutions. The company’s commitment to research and development is evident in its ongoing efforts to push the boundaries of technology, particularly in areas like autonomous systems and cybersecurity. Northrop Grumman’s global reach extends to numerous countries, reflecting its status as a key player in international defense and security. Its dedication to environmental sustainability is marked by initiatives aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and promote renewable energy usage. Furthermore, Northrop Grumman’s involvement in educational programs, particularly in STEM fields, highlights its commitment to nurturing the next generation of engineers and scientists. These attributes collectively demonstrate Northrop Grumman’s prominent position in the defense industry and its wide-ranging influence on both a national and global scale.

Raytheon Technologies, a giant in the defense and aerospace industry, stands out with its substantial revenue of approximately $64 billion in 2021. This financial prowess reflects its major role in the global economy. With around 180,000 employees, Raytheon is not just a key player in its sector but also a significant employer, influencing job markets worldwide. Its diverse range of products and services, including advanced missile systems, cybersecurity solutions, and aerospace technologies, showcases its technological breadth and depth. Raytheon’s commitment to innovation is clear from its substantial investment in research and development, driving advancements in areas like precision weaponry and AI integration in defense systems. The company’s global presence is extensive, with operations and partnerships in numerous countries, emphasizing its role in shaping international defense landscapes. Environmentally, Raytheon is focused on sustainability, implementing measures to minimize its ecological footprint. Additionally, the company’s involvement in educational initiatives, particularly in STEM, underscores its dedication to fostering future talent in science and technology. These aspects collectively paint a picture of Raytheon Technologies as a formidable force in the defense industry, with far-reaching impacts both domestically and internationally.

These companies illustrate the defense industry’s vast reach and its pivotal role in shaping modern warfare through the supply of advanced weaponry and military equipment.