How do companies benefit from war



The terms economy and war often fall in the same breath, some even speak of economic wars. There are companies that benefit directly from war, such as arms factories, and there are also companies that are co-initiators of wars through the way in which they obtain and process raw materials.

For example: Siemens

Siemens is one of the largest international arms manufacturers. Today the company worries among other things. about equipping combat aircraft, warships and tanks with information technology and electrical aids, about building nuclear power plants, about nuclear power plant service and the fuel elements required for this. (For this reason, the organization "Doctors Against Nuclear Hazards" has been running a campaign to boycott Siemens products for years.)

Orders from Siemens

The Siemens company generated enormous sales in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. For example, Siemens received an order to relocate a telephone network in Kabul and other Afghan cities.

In Iraq they act as rebuilders of bombed power plants and hospitals and are involved in building the telephone network in northern Iraq. Siemens boss Heinrich von Pierer says: "That is the role of companies from the perspective of a global player, the prevention of armed conflicts and the reconstruction after war."

Political contacts

Siemens has its own "Political Action Committee", which is supposed to support politicians in election campaigns and to give the (Siemens) company a privilege for doing business abroad, such as in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Thanks to these good contacts with the Bush administration, Siemens also secured a major order from the US government for the expansion of the surveillance system in the USA. Together with Boeing, Siemens is installing new security systems at over 400 US airports. Siemens communications systems are in use at the US Air Force Headquarters in the Pacific and at numerous air force bases in the USA and Europe.

Siemens manufactures the fuel cell drive for the “product data management” of the Eurofighter and for the new submarine class of the German Bundeswehr 212A and is significantly involved in the development and construction of the new NATO anti-aircraft missile MEDAS. Siemens is also taking care of equipping all Bundeswehr locations with new information and telecommunications technology. Siemens has a 49% stake in the tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann.

Siemens sales

The Siemens company's sales almost doubled between 1991 and 2003, from 39 billion euros to 75 billion euros. The profit increased from 1 billion to 2.4 billion euros. The company wants to increase this profit even more by relocating operations, production facilities and thus jobs to low-wage countries (countries with extremely low wages) to an even greater extent than before. Unfortunately, production often results in a cost-minimizing, concentrated manufacturing method and neglect of safety requirements, as the accident with the Combino tram in Shanghai shows. (red)

Link tips:

German Peace Society / United Conscientious Objectors (accessed on 10.1.2018)

Informationsstelle Militarisierung e.V. (accessed on 10.1.2018)

Workshop Peace & Solidarity (accessed on 10.1.2018)

WG Peace Research University of Kassel (accessed on 10.1.2018)


Winfried Wolf: Siemens: "Enough is not enough". In: Guernica 4/2004, page 4.

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