The Military-Industrial Complex: Knowledge at a Cost

The age of “big science” was produced by the military-industrial complex through having the US military, US universities, and US businesses collaborate to produce research for the nation, particularly for warfare research. This was a 50 year period that started with WWII and ended in the early 1990’s, which was when the Soviet Union was dissolved. 

There were leaders, such as Vannevar Bush and Barry Goldwater, that were very much for this complex. However, leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower and J. William Fulbright had some concerns about it. Bush believed that the US should develop a national agency for science and use public and academic research in order to help with American security and welfare. He believed science would increase American jobs and production. Goldwater saw the complex as a way to not only protect Americans from domestic and international threats, but to also allow America to be the nation everyone in the world looks up to for defense and research. They both believed that the complex would benefit US civilians. However, Eisenhower viewed this complex would lead to an imbalance of knowledge and cost and that the individual is just as important as a group of researchers. He viewed that if the nation only focuses on research from universities instead of both them and individual researchers, then,  “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite” (435). Fulbright shares similar views, but also believes that using universities for research to feed into the complex would cheat students from learning. He feels that professors and other researchers have begun to place their priority on getting their research out to the military department and not on teaching their knowledge. He also believed that universities will rely too much on government funding due to research, making them more commercial and less educational. 

3 thoughts on “The Military-Industrial Complex: Knowledge at a Cost

  1. I think that you gave a well written and concise definition and explanation of the military-industrial complex, and the views of the relevant political figures were accurate to the reading as well. I liked how you gave a short synopsis of the opinions and views in question by grouping the people into the categories of supporting or being against the issue, and then leading into the conversation about the issue as a whole by using the points from their letters. The point you made about government funded research in college was good as well, and I like the how you made the point of being more commercial than educational.


  2. I like your explanation of both sides of the argument for government funded research in college. To expand on your point I think that we have drifted into a situation where colleges have become more commercial than educational. Where there are many universities that focus primarily on research rather than teaching students. Like how MSU is thinking of building an entire new building to comply with government regulations to get classified research. This will not benefit the students in any way but will allow the college to take on more research grants of a classified nature.


  3. Great blogpost, You gave all the relevant information and points in 2 short paragraphs. How research universities, the government and private companies intertwined themselves and became somewhat dependent on each other. Each major figures views on this development, whether they thought it was a good thing or if we should be cautious about it.


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