“The Pentagon system has long been the country’s biggest welfare program, transferring massive public funds to high-tech industry on the pretext of defense and security.”
—Noam Chomsky, 1996
BRAVE NEW FILMS: The Jet that Ate the Pentagon
For more detailed exposes, see the following:
Jeremiah Goulka: Lockheed Martin’s Herculean Efforts to Profit From Defense Spending
William Hartung, on Lockheed Martin and the military industrial complex
Chomsky: The Pentagon System (1993)
Like all advanced societies, the U.S. has relied on state intervention in the economy from its origins, though for ideological reasons, the fact is commonly denied. During the post-World War II period, such “industrial policy” was masked by the Pentagon system, including the Department of Energy (which produces nuclear weapons) and NASA, converted by the Kennedy administration to a significant component of the state-directed public subsidy to advanced industry.
By the late 1940s, it was taken for granted in government-corporate circles that the state would have to intervene massively to maintain the private economy. … The Magazine of Wall Street saw military spending as a way to “inject new strength into the entire economy,” and a few years later, found it “obvious that foreign economies as well as our own are now mainly dependent on the scope of continued arms spending in this country,” referring to the international military Keynesianism that finally succeeded in reconstructing state capitalist industrial societies abroad and laying the basis for the huge expansion of Transnational Corporations (TNCs), at that time mainly U.S.-based.
The Pentagon system was considered ideal for these purposes. It imposes on the public a large burden of the costs (research and development, R&D) and provides a guaranteed market for excess production, a useful cushion for management decisions. Furthermore, this form of industrial policy does not have the undesirable side-effects of social spending directed to human needs.
… The defects of social spending do not taint the military Keynesian alternative, which had the added advantage that it was well-adapted to the needs of advanced industry: computers and electronics generally, aviation, and a wide range of related technologies and enterprises.
And here is Eisenhower’s ominous farewell warning: