Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cost of Empire - Sword and Dollar: excerpt 9

benefits of military R&D to the civilian economy have been small and are declining as military technology becomes increasingly specialized and exotic - the rapid expansion of military research diverts resources from the civilian economy and retards US economic growth and competitiveness in world markets - the few industries that have benefited from military research would be far better off if the money had been spent entirely on commercial research - [note: the SAGE MIIM is the primary focus and means of command-control, essential for continuity].

the pattern of distortion will worsen if the Star Warriors have their way - the estimates for the Strategic Defense Initiative ("star wars") are stratospheric indeed, as much as several trillion dollars - the cost to the rest of the economy - as measured by the military absorption of scientific talent, the loss of export markets, and the competitive disadvantage of civilian R&D is even harder to calculate -- in his eight years in office President Reagan spent upwards of $2 trillion on the military - sums of this magnitude create an enormous tax burden for the American people who, as of 1988, carried a national debt of $2.5 trillion, or more than twice the debt of the entire Third World - furthermore, Americans must endure the neglect of environmental needs, the decay and financial insolvency of our cities, the deterioration of our transportation, education, and health-care systems, and the devastating effects of underemployment upon millions of households and hundreds of communities.

in addition, there are the frightful social and psychological costs, the discouragement and decline of public morale, the anger, cynicism, and suffering of the poor and not-so-poor, the militarization and violence of popular culture and the potential application of increasingly authoritarian solutions to our social problems -- poverty can be found in the rich industrial nations as well as the Third World - in the richest of them all, the United States, those living below the poverty level grew in the 1981-86 period from 24 million to almost 35 million, according to the government's own figures, which many consider to be underestimations - thus making the poor the fastest growing social group in the USA - in 1986, the House Select Committee on Hunger found that disease, caused by severe protein and calorie deficiencies and usually seen only in Third World countries, could be found in the United States, along with rising rates of infant mortality in poor areas.

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