The Pentagon Model: Industrial Policy

An excellent interview from TheRealNews via Truthout about how the US has had for several market sectors large, expensive, long industrial policies through the Department of Defense (the Internet, commercial jet industry and the Personal Computer, for example). This of course flies in the face of those who espouse the virtues of the “free market” and at the same time don’t seem to have a problem throwing money at DoD for anything at all.

But the larger points are:

First, we have an industrial policy now. It is security-based, secretive, and you are called unpatriotic if you question it. I would add that it is pretending to save the world while sort of doing the opposite at worst or preventing the world being saved (from environmental disaster) at best by sucking up so much budget and serving as a colossal distraction from our real pressing problems.

Second, that the green economy, which could (all at the same time!) make some folks rich or richer, provide jobs, alleviate some environmental and energy demand issues, and make the US a top contender for manufacturing, technology, and associated overseas consulting.

So, why not? Could it be that Monsanto, for example, stands to make more, easy money if there is famine, if people are desperate, if they hold a near a monopoly on food? It is easier to justify sending Blackwater off some place because it’s more akin to “action hero” than funding green tech laboratories is and therefore an easier sell?

The ROI is immediate on drones…for AeroVironment and General Atomics. * Who does it feed, or clothe? What service does it really provide other than a feeling of what? Security? When they are flying around your house by 2015, will you feel safer or like a criminal being watched? And they insure war will continue for a long time to come when they kill lots of innocents in order to get one target on a list. What is it’s value to the American people? How can or will it provide a future? Will it protect from flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, oil spills? At best, they might one day do well with search but not so much the rescue part.

These policies are stifling, shortsighted, and selfish. It looks like we are going to crumble under our own weight like the Soviet Union. Sometimes I think that’s the idea.

* Yeah, I worked on a few government contracts and they don’t always pay quickly, though sometimes that’s because you have to get all the right pieces to them in the right format and order. That’s not what I mean. I mean this is not a longterm investment for anyone except the shareholders of those companies. Several drone-related articles at Boiling Frogs this evening. (Switch-blade drones?!?).

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