Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cost of Empire - Sword and Dollar: excerpt 8

Americans pay dearly for "our" global military apparatus - the cost of building one aircraft carrier could feed several million of the poorest, hungriest children in America for ten years - greater sums have been budgeted for the development of the Navy's submarine rescue vehicle than for occupational safety, public libraries, and day care centers combined - the cost of military aircraft components and ammunition kept in storage by the Pentagon is greater than the combined costs of pollution control, conservation, community development, housing, occupational safety, and mass transportation - the total expenses of the legislative and judiciary branches and all the regulatory commissions combined constitute little more than half of 1 percent of the Pentagon's yearly budget.

then there is the distortion of American science and technology as 70 percent of federal research and development (R&D) funds go to the military - contrary to Pentagon claims, what the military produces in R&D has very little spin-off for the civilian market - about one-third of all American scientists and engineers are involved in military projects, creating a serious brain drain for the civilian sector - the United States is losing out in precisely those industries in which military spending is concentrated, to foreign competitors who are not burdened by heavily militarized economies - for instance, the US machine-tool industry once dominated the world market - but since so much of the industry has been absorbed by the military, foreign imports have increased six-folded and now account for more than a third of domestic civilian consumption - the same pattern has been evident in the aerospace and electronics industries, two other areas of concentrated military investment.

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