Spurring Technology Growth, the Ancillary Benefits of the Military Industrial Complex
The Internet, cell-phone,global positioning, computer and microchip, telecommunication, rocket, and myriad of materials technology have all been ancillary benefits of the Military Industrial Complex, but has it been worth the political and human toll?
Do the benefits of new technology procured through the MIC outweigh the costs? And would these advances in technology which have completely changed the academic, industrial, and professional dynamics of the first world been developed regardless, without the help from astronomical budgets and a perpetuating war machine?
Which sector or industry has the best and most advanced technology? Reason would dictate that the industry with the most funding, both for procurement and research and development would have the most technologically advanced tools and processes. War is that industry, in the world’s leading economy, it creates the entire matrix of private companies, public organizations, think tanks, materials suppliers, builders, and support firms which make up the MIC. The Department of Defense, colloquially known as the Pentagon, is the spearhead federal organization that is in charge of creating and supporting the huge labyrinth of firms that keep the perpetual American war machine the global leader.
America’s current “defense” forces, without exaggeration or hyperbole, are the most powerful and formidable military organization in the history of man. The US Air Force is the world’s largest, naturally, but what might be surprising and telling regarding America’s military might, is that the US Navy ranks as the second largest air force on earth.
There are a lot of ominous mentions of the “military industrial complex” in today’s lexicon. It is a politically polarizing paradigm; wherein there are those who believe this “complex”, first coined and brought to our attention (in a portentous warning before departing from the Presidential Office) by Dwight D. Eisenhower, perpetuates an imperial military dogma, and drives the US into unnecessary military conflict, war, and occupation. War, it seems, has been turned into a market, and the industry’s leading supplier of products and services has become the US DOD.
The questions remain, is the United States’ insatiable appetite for military conflict directly caused by the policy and monetary relationships between the countries legislators, armed forces, and industrial sector? Have the wars and conflicts the US has been involved in post-WWII been just? That all depends on whom you ask, and the information and reasoning they cite regarding each theater of conflict (from quelling the spread of Communism in Vietnam, to occupying large sectors of Middle East to guard against “terror”, to a four decade quagmire against drugs).
Regardless of the political environment, and the real or imagined dangers of ambiguous enemies, the trickling down effect of constant military technology innovation into the private and civilian sectors has spurred growth and evolution that might have otherwise never happened. These new technologies have become invaluable, both in our daily lives, and the private and academic sectors. Technologies that were created and utilized to destroy, might just become the tools that spur the whole world into a more peaceful and democratic place.
One of the most profound military technologies to take on civilian use, and completely revolutionize the way the world works, has been the internet. The economic impact of the internet has been immeasurable, across all industries on the planet. For all of the negative political ramifications that came from American military imperialism, for all of the lives and treasure lost, it is looking as though it might not have been in vain.
Citizens of the world who were once disenfranchised under the rule of dictatorships and completely corrupt economic systems now have the tools they need to learn, communicate, and coordinate revolutionary paths to more freedom, opportunity, and understanding. Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, and Jordan are just a few countries where people have risen up against intolerable governments, and demanded, among other things, their basic human rights.
These types of protests, uprisings, and even wars in some cases, would never have been possible without the coordinated use of the Internet, cell-phones, and, something we consider a novelty in our daily lives today, social networking.
The key here is the ability for these people to access information and knowledge that they otherwise would never have been privy to. As the masses become enlightened through the University of the Internet, transparency and real-time communication of politically substantial events will become the norm, and the masses will be able to learn and communicate at a speed and intricacy never before seen in human history.
As unplanned and unforeseen these consequences of new technology might be for the world, they just might force humanity into a more globally cooperative and peaceful place.