Disarmament & the Economy
We must release the human imagination in order to open up a new exploration of the alternatives now possible for the human community; we must set forth general and detailed plans, ideas, visions; in brief, programs… and make these … political issues.
-C. Wright Mills
LET US suppose that we are on the brink of disarmament. Let us suppose that minimum deterrence, pre-emptive strike, counterforce, retaliatory capacity, invulnerability, arms control, escalation, and all the other recondite notions of the cold war have been relegated by our political leaders to the dusty archives of history. Let us suppose that Polaris, Minuteman, and Davy Crockett are about to be turned into plowshares or preserved as curious museum pieces. Then what?
Some say that the result would be nothing short of economic catastrophe. From 1950-1959, $230 billion was spent on weaponry. In 1960, $46 billion of federal money went into defense, atomic energy, and space, and the budget for “fiscal 1964″ will provide $54 billion for the same purposes. It is estimated that by 1965 well over three million people will be working in defense-related industries, and another four million will be working directly for the government, either in blue denims or uniforms. The argument that our prosperity-such as it is-can be traced to the stimulus of the cold war, and that the continued viability of our economy depends on preparation for war, thus appears to have a good deal of weight behind it. After all, did it not take a huge war effort to rescue us from the Great Depression? As John P. Lewis, the new member of the Council of Economic Advisers, once said: “Short of World War II, no adequate cure ever emerged or was contrived” to haul the economy out of the doldrums of the 30′s.
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