The Economic Function of Militarism

Trump’s Foreign Policy and the American Economy in Decline

Vjay Prasad (2018)

Film Review

In this talk, Indian historian and journalist Vjay Prasad outlines the importance of militarism to the US economy, via a concept he refers to as “military keynesianism.” In so-called “sensible countries,” governments seek to ameliorate cyclical economic downturns by increasing spending on public services, such as health, education, public transport and social services.*

The technical term for this type of spending, first advocated in the 1930s by British economist Milton Keynes, is “countercyclical spending.”

The US also engages in countercyclical spending to prevent economic collapse during a recession – but on the military side. In Europe, one of the primary effects of public service spending is an enhanced sense of community. US elites prefer to keep the US population splintered and isolated because it makes them easier to control. They can’t take the risk of them banding together to push for reforms or revolution.

Although a military base operates like a mini-socialist state where the government takes care of every need, there is little risk a genuine egalitarian community will develop. This relates to the hierarchical nature of military life.


*No elites do this out of the goodness of their heart. European social democracies increase public spending during recessions because their populations are well-organized and force them to do so.

2 thoughts on “The Economic Function of Militarism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.