When did the CPC start running Candian telecoms?...,
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reading from the same page of two different stories...,
have had this on my shelf for a year or so now, waiting patiently for me to finish other things. I'm about half-way through both Alvin Rubinstein's Russian Foreign Policy and George F. Kennan's The Nuclear Delusion and decided to take a little break from foreign relations, a vacation suspended by page 2 as Noble immediately puts his subject inside the context of foreign relations:
between 1945 and 1968, the Department of Defense industrial system supplied $44 billion of goods and services, exceeding the combined net sales of General Motors, General Electric, Du Pont, and U.S. Steel.
--David Noble, Forces of Production p.5, citing Seymour Melman, "The War Economy of the United States", 1971.
Even Rubinstein's relatively narrow frame for the Soviet foreign policy (see the next post) fails to summon up a threat worthy of what was spent then, and Kennan in no uncertain terms complains of the country being whipped into various undue and paranoid hysterias to justify unnecessary levels of military spending - 100 nuclear ICBMs being as effective a deterrent as 34,000.
But lets put those first decades of the Cold War spending in some present context: assuming Noble is quoting 1971 dollars that's equivalent to about $205 billion in 2004 dollars, or as little as 1/8th of our total defense spending just last year, which, mind you, would include some interest payments on defense related debt incurred between 1945 and 1968. To be a little facetious: if we were to measure fear by its outlays why are we 184 times more paranoid now than we were during the McCarthyite/Stalinist/Korean War era or, say, the escalatory phase of Vietnam?
The spending, as it is, is being used to develop and build petrol-dependent military equipment to fight defunct methods of warfare against countries that poise no threat to us. If we were a sane nation we would redirect most of the funds towards community/neighborhood level sustainable/alternative energy projects yesterday and save on our "defense" spending tomorrow.
Instead we're redirecting funds we don't have towards giving the oil cartels more tax breaks. When we finally, at the last moment, decide to start something like the "apollo project" it's going to almost certainly end up a massive public subsidy to existing energy firms to finally buyout/develop some means of keeping the country going without limitless supplies of cheap petrol: the Bushes and the Cheneys and Exxons will still control the lifeblood of the nation, whether its black gold, wind power, tidal mills, or so much compressed hot air.