Academic journal article Military Review

IS WAR NECESSARY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH? Military Procurement and Technology Development

Academic journal article Military Review

IS WAR NECESSARY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH? Military Procurement and Technology Development

Article excerpt

IS WAR NECESSARY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH? Military Procurement and Technology Development, Vernon Ruttan, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006, 219 pages, $45.00.

Vernon Ruttan's Is War Necessary for Economic Growth? examines six subjects (interchangeable parts, aviation, nuclear energy, computers, the Internet, and space industries) to analyze the military's role in technological development. Ruttan argues that military spending has been a vital contributor to the development of technologies in each of these sectors, and postulates that American military spending has traditionally been stimulated by war or the threat of war, leading to major advances in technology. He draws excellent parallels between the items of his study, particularly in the critical role military funding plays in private-firm research.

A key component of Ruttan's thesis is that private firms do not have enough capital to make radical innovations, and only government entities function with a sufficiently long-term view to undertake the massive development projects required by the modern military. Technologies spun off by these projects are often unintentional, but prove profitable for private firms and provide an incentive for cooperative research-and-development projects. …

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