The military–industrial–congressional complex

President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned the U.S. about the “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address.

Military–industrial complex, or military–industrial–congressional complex,[1] is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the military industrial base that supports them. These relationships include political contributions, political approval for military spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry. It is a type of iron triangle. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961,[2] though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure.[3][4]

The term is sometimes used more broadly to include the entire network of contracts and flows of money and resources among individuals as well as corporations and institutions of the defense contractors, The Pentagon, the Congress and executive branch. This sector is intrinsically prone to principal–agent problem, moral hazard, and rent seeking. Cases of political corruption have also surfaced with regularity. A parallel system is that of the Military–industrial–media complex, along with the more distant Politico-media complex and Prison–industrial complex.

A similar thesis was originally expressed by Daniel Guérin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business, about the fascist government support to heavy industry.  An exhibit of the trend was made in Franz Leopold Neumann‘s book Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism in 1942, a study of how Nazism came into a position of power in a democratic state.

The defense industry tends to contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress.[24]

Etymology

President of the United States (and former General of the Army) Dwight D. Eisenhower used the term in his Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment… This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The phrase was thought to have been “war-based” industrial complex before becoming “military” in later drafts of Eisenhower’s speech, a claim passed on only by oral history.[6] Geoffrey Perret, in his biography of Eisenhower, claims that, in one draft of the speech, the phrase was “military-industrial-congressional complex“, indicating the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry, but the word “congressional” was dropped from the final version to appease the then-currently elected officials.[7]

In 1956, sociologist C. Wright Mills had claimed in his book The Power Elite that a class of military, business, and political leaders, driven by mutual interests, were the real leaders of the state, and were effectively beyond democratic control. Friedrich Hayek mentions in his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom the danger of a support of monopolistic organisation of industry from WWII political remnants:

Another element which after this war is likely to strengthen the tendencies in this direction will be some of the men who during the war have tasted the powers of coercive control and will find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play [in peaceful times].”[12]

George F. Kennan wrote in his preface to Norman Cousins‘s 1987 book The Pathology of Power:

Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”[13]

 

The expressions permanent war economy and war corporatism are related concepts that have also been used in association with this term. The term is also used to describe comparable collusion in other political entities such as the German Empire (prior to and through the first world war), Britain, France and (post-Soviet) Russia.[citation needed]

Linguist and anarcho-socialist theorist Noam Chomsky has suggested that “military-industrial complex” is a misnomer because (as he considers it) the phenomenon in question “is not specifically military.”[17] He claims, “There is no military-industrial complex: it’s just the industrial system operating under one or another pretext (defense was a pretext for a long time).”[18]

History

Whilst the term originated in the 1960s and has been applied since, the concept of co-ordination between government, the military, and the arms industry largely finds its roots since the private sector began providing weaponry to government-run forces. The relationship between government and the defence industry can include political contracts placed for weapons, general bureaucratic oversight and organized lobbying on the part of the defence companies for the maintenance of their interests.

 Currently, the annual military expenditure of the United States accounts for about 47% of the world’s total arms expenditures.[19]

In 1977, following the Vietnam war, U.S. President Jimmy Carter began his presidency with what historian Michael Sherry has called “a determination to break from America’s militarized past.”[20] However, increased defense spending in the era of President Ronald Reagan was seen by some to have brought the MIC back into prominence.

Current applications

According to SIPRI, total world spending on military expenses in 2009 was $1.531 trillion US dollars. 46.5% of this total, roughly $712 billion US dollars, was spent by the United States.[21] The privatization of the production and invention of military technology also leads to a complicated relationship with significant research and development of many technologies.

The Military budget of the United States for the 2009 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion.[22] This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.[23]

http://tvzvezda.ru/news/vstrane_i_mire/content/201501130812-538v.htm

Черная дыра Пентагона: куда утекает огромный военный бюджет США

Несмотря на «самый демократический строй в мире», откатов, воровства и транжирства в оборонных расходах США едва ли не добрая половина от всех средств бюджета. Государственные деньги Пентагона «пилят» все, кому не лень.

One Trackback

  1. […] Cold War that the US and UK governments have created in order to dupe the taxpayers into funding the military-industrial complex with their hard-earned money, to the tune of $1 trillion per […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: