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U.S.A.: The Military Industrial Complex (How The Military Industrial Complex Had Evolved And Its Implication On Business, Governmant And Society)

4460 words - 18 pages

ORIGINS OF MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX"In the councils of government, 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."- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961When Eisenhower coined this historical term "Military Industrial Complex" in his farewell address, he could hardly have imagined the extent to which this combination of the US armed forces, industry, and associated political and commercial interests, had embedded itself in the institutions of his time. This was the time when tensions between the two warring factions, Capitalists led by the US and Communists led by the USSR, had reached unprecedented levels. The influence of the military on the American psyche had itself reached levels unmatched by anything previously seen. However, what President Eisenhower saw as a recent development in the American history was really a result of changes that had been going on for the past many years. These have been conceptualized by two theories each focusing on different issues and time-frames to explain the development of the Military Industrial Complex.The first of these theories is the "Power Elite" theory which concerns itself with the Military Industrial Complex as a collection of powerful military-economic actors and their rise within the Power Elite, the individuals and infrastructure that had the power to take decisions on behalf of the people, during World War II. Conceptualized by C. Wright Mills, this theory explained the rise of Military Industrial Complex in terms of the fact that military procurement had become the focal point of the relationship between the state and the industry during the war effort. The rise of military in the eyes of the public as heroes and protectors of the nation helped it gain a prominent position among the Power Elite. The common ground forged by the corporate world with the military helped enhance their position within the Power Elite. This was essentially the formation of an informal coalition of special groups that sought to advance their interests at the public's expense. The key support for this theory comes from the immense military spending even during peacetime and the formation of a massive military-bureaucratic structure in the form of Department of Defense.The other is the "Institutional Origin" theory, conceptualized by Bruce G. Brunton, which concerns itself with the evolving patterns of behavior during the 19th century that led to the formation of the Military Industrial Complex, supported by groups that benefited from increased funding by the state. Even while many of the groups disappeared from the arena, the Complex was able to sustain itself since it had become institutionalized. The key characteristics of this theory are the shift from state development of military hardware to reliance on private contractors, state support for strategic R&D in...

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