military-industrial complex

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Militant and industrial societiesclick for a larger image
Fig. 20 Militant and industrial societies. Spencer's contrasts between militant and industrial societies. This table (from Smelser, 1968) is derived from Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, 1897.

military-industrial complex

a term introduced to the general public in a famous 1950s speech by President Eisenhower, in which he warned that the social structure of American society was becoming increasingly dominated by military and economic imperatives arising from the ARMS RACE. The suggestion that the capitalist economy has been dependent on a continuation of arms expenditure is controversial (compare TENDENCY TO DECLINING RATE OF PROFIT, OVERPRODUCTION AND UNDERCONSUMPTION). However, that the continuation of the COLD WAR (e.g. Thompson, 1982) significantly distorted the economies and political systems of the major powers, limiting the possibility of reform, is borne out by changes in the subsequent era of greater detente, (see PERESTROIKA, GLASNOST), and the collapse of Soviet power.
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