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The Changing Military Industrial Complex


  • J Paul Dunne

    () (University of the West of England and University of Cape Town)

  • Elisabeth Skons

    () (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)


The first reference to a military industrial complex (MIC) was made by US President Eisenhower in 1961. He then referred to something historically specific: the build-up of a large permanent military establishment and a permanent arms industry, which raised his concerns for the unwarranted influence of these societal forces. Subsequently the meaning of the MIC evolved to refer to the vested interests within the state and industry in expanding the military sector and in increasing military spending, with external threats providing the justification. During the Cold War, when the defence was strongly focused on deterrence, this produced a set of specific state-industry relationships that in turn generated a beneficial environment for the development and strengthening of the MIC. With the end of the Cold War, the conditions for a strong MIC were less favourable, at least initially, with changes in the international security environment, cuts in military spending and arms production, and ensuing privatisation, commercialisation, and internationalisation of military activities as well as of arms production. This paper discusses how the MIC has been affected by these changes and the degree to which there has been continuity of old power structures and a continuing MIC.

Suggested Citation

  • J Paul Dunne & Elisabeth Skons, 2011. "The Changing Military Industrial Complex," Working Papers 1104, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:1104

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dunne, J. Paul, 1995. "The defense industrial base," Handbook of Defense Economics,in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 399-430 Elsevier.
    2. Smith, Ron & Dunne, Paul, 1994. "Is Military Spending a Burden? A 'Marxo-Marginalist': Response," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 515-521, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. J Paul Dunne, 2011. "Military Keynesianism: An Assessment," Working Papers 1106, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.

    More about this item


    MIC; Military industry; globalisation; security;

    JEL classification:

    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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