Captives of the Cold War Economy: The Struggle for Defense Conversion in American Communities

Captives of the Cold War Economy: The Struggle for Defense Conversion in American Communities

Captives of the Cold War Economy: The Struggle for Defense Conversion in American Communities

Captives of the Cold War Economy: The Struggle for Defense Conversion in American Communities

Synopsis

In 1989 the Cold War ended, but America's Cold War economy did not end with it. Accordino examines how economic interests and powerful political forces in the federal government and in communities have kept the country from converting to a peacetime economy, and he identifies groups and interests that are working to make a peace economy possible in the United States.

Excerpt

How did communities respond to the mixed signals they received from a federal administration ambivalent about defense-spending cutbacks and conversion? As it happens, proactive conversion planning does not come any more naturally to American communities than, as the previous chapter described, it does to federal politics. the institutional constraints on local governments and the economic interests that dominate local policy-making discourage community-wide planning for alternative futures--until a calamity strikes. Rather, those forces encourage dependency on existing industries. Nevertheless, change is possible, especially during economic crises. This chapter is an overview of how institutional, economic, and political forces shape local-development policies in the typical American community. It is intended as background for the subsequent discussion of how in particular those forces operate in defense-dependent communities. This chapter focuses on the actors that most influence local-development policy, namely, local government and businesses.

Local government responsibilities and powers

Local government officials are elected and statutorily empowered to promote the public welfare. Over our history, as communities expanded in size and complexity, that responsibility came to encompass more government activities. By the twentieth century, local governments provided not only police- and fireprotection services, but also health and sanitation facilities and schools as well as parks and other amenities. Local officials regulated physical development and buildings in addition to business practices and residential behavior that could impinge on neighboring residents. As the century has progressed, localities and states have increasingly taken on responsibility for promoting a healthy local economy as well, with particular attention to policies that promote job creation.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.