03 December 2011

Elite War Economy

The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, 1956, Excerpts
The story of the American economy since the Civil War is the story of the creation and consolidation of this corporate world of centralized property. During World War II, the merger of the corporate economy and the military bureaucracy came into its present-day significance. Within the span of one generation, America has become the leading industrial society of the world, and at the same time one of the leading military states. Without the industrial economy, the modern army could not exist; it is an army of machines.

Since World War II, the general direction of pure scientific research has been set by the military. Scientific and technological development has increasingly become part of the military order, which is now the largest single supporter and director of scientific research. Some universities are financial branches of the military establishment.

The military has become enlarged and decisive to the shape of the entire economic structure; and, moreover, the economic and the military have become structurally and deeply interrelated, as the economy has become a seemingly permanent war economy; and military men and policies have increasingly penetrated the corporate economy.

American capitalism is now in considerable part military capitalism, and the most important relation of the big corporation to the state rests on the coincidence of interests between military and corporate needs. Within the elite as a whole, this coincidence of interest between the high military and the corporate chieftains strengthens both of them and further subordinates the role of the merely political men.


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