While war and militarism have always been elements of human civilization throughout the ages, only in modern times and through advent of industrial capitalism these barbaric elements take on new monstrous proportions. Thus, in the twentieth century we end up with two world wars (and perhaps a third world war in 21st century?) with economies that owe their ‘health’ and expansion to the growth of their war machines. This dominance of the military influence takes on such alarming magnitudes that in 1950’s even a staunchly conservative US president like Eisenhower dedicates his farewell speech to warn the nation against the encroaching “Military-Industrial” complex.
The first author to use the term “Permanent War Economy,” and to mean by that a form of military Keynesianism that was contemporary capitalism’s only way out, a means of transferring wealth from the working classes to capital by means of government taxation, was Edward Sard. Using the pen name Walter J. Oakes, he first proposed this argument in1944. Following that original thesis Michael Kidron expands on the notion in 1967 by publishing his book “A Permanent Arms Economy.” Perhaps the pinnacle of this literature was in 1972 with the publication of Ernest Mandel’s magnum opus “Late Capitalism” in which he explicated on the convergence of the Permanent Arms Economy and Late Capitalism.
Fast forward to early 21st century, we witness what all these economists had theorized in very painful concrete, actual details. After the September 11, 2001 attacks and responses to it under the guise of “Full Spectrum War,” “Endless War” and “War on Terror” now we have Permanent War Economies as a dominant feature of advanced world economies.
This documentary is a behind the scene look at how this Permanent War Economy actually functions, and the costs millions of human beings throughout the world pay, for the benefits of the few.
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