July 1, 2010 - admin

Volume 36, Issue 4: A Political Economy of Knowledge Production

In his farewell address on January 17, 1961 outgoing President Eisenhower coined the now well worn phrase “military industrial complex” in his warning that there is a danger in the confluence of the government’s military establishment and a growing industrial based serving those interests. Specifically, he cautioned that “(i)n the councils of govern- ment, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist (Eisenhower 1961).” These warnings, as we all know, have gone unheeded and at present estimates direct spending by the US Department of Defense will reach almost $664 billion (OMB 2009, Table S.12) while combined defense related expenditures from all sources including debt service has been over a $1 trillion since 2007 (Higgs 2007). Considering this outlay has only risen since 2007 and the current budget expenditures for 2010 estimated at just under $3.6 trillion (OMB 2009, Table S.1) we can say the military industrial complex feeds on almost $0.30 out of every dollar spent by the US government. Few readers of this journal would doubt that Eisenhower’s con- cern over the existence of misplaced power accompanied by unwarranted influence was overstated…

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