When a nation takes potent research and capital resources and diverts them to power projection, it is sacrificing achievement for power. Put another way, the nation is trading civilian manufacturing for political services. That is why services grow at the expense of manufacturing in an empire society. That is not an accidental association, it is a forced zero-sum choice. Pure achievement respects and rewards the middle class as an important part of the innovative process. Power and control thrives on stagnation and limitation of the middle class. When merit and what you know becomes less important than who you know, classism and more rigid hierarchy sets in and social mobility suffers. This is the beginning of the corruption of power and empire and it is a direct result of the basic power versus achievement choice made in the first place. So political social and economic rigidity are all logical results of the choice in favor of empire backed up by the military.
When the military becomes the major force in society, allocating the resources of the military becomes the major object in politics. Then those in charge of the allocation process become the most powerful in that society. For the United States that means those chairing or sitting on the four key, House and Senate, Armed Services and Defense Appropriation Subcommittees. In addition the leaders of the Senate and House, who often place themselves on the four key committees, share the loot with the President. Those that represent large military factories, bases, or service providers have political advantages over others in this process. Because military manufacturers overpay their employees about one third more than non-military similar occupations and are directly dependent on the federal budget, the incentives for political involvement are very high. Talent, money, and motive increase the power of these communities in the political process. Major presidential candidates usually come from these powerhouse communities. Power is a two way street in this process, such that people coming from high military states have twice the chance of those from low military states in leadership areas like congressional leadership, presidential cabinet members, supreme court appointees, and presidents. The corruption involved in this process drives up the local crime rates and corruption levels in local business.
Because the military budget allocation process is based more on political power than proposal merit this is another great source of corruption. There is no way to test products against the consumer marketplace like in other industries, so there is a lot of guess work rather than science in the choices made. The test of battle comes too infrequently to be of much use, so there is a tendency to overbuild and overspend to ensure an advantage, leading to a lot of waste.
There is too much single person and hierarchical decision making and an emphasis on short term thinking. The flexibility of a normal marketplace is not there in the military industrial complex. This creates a kind of complacency among many who feel they can not change the system. This in turn leads to less healthy choices and living styles. This drives up the cost of health care and leads to a search for alternatives like drugs and lotteries to break the tedium of being cut out of the decision-making process. Apathy extends into the stagnancy of the political process.
Those involved in the war fighting of empire come away with an exaggerated level of self importance. Soldiers have the power of life and death and tend to use it too capriciously. This is another corruption the average soldier learns to live with. Then the war fighters bring the stress home with them as the contrast between war and peace leads to culture shock. Humans are normally loving and friendly, not readily prepared for shock and horror. The confusion between friends and enemies also is a form of corruption. Too much thinking about enemies leads to alienation and corrupts the soul. Empathy is a casualty of this process and inappropriate actions can add to the domestic crime rate at home. Families are put under a lot of stress and sometimes break apart. Bad habits formed overseas can be taken home with the soldiers.
Arrogance of Empire
The humility and humanity of the thirties Great Depression lasted about a generation after the World War in the United States. Then the arrogance of empire started to concentrate more in one of the political parties than the other. Politics in America gradually became more hostile, bitter, and divisive from the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan onward. Reagan removed the equal time doctrine allowing right wing radio and television to emerge and creating two Americas with very different political ideas. This evolved over time with demonization of liberals and Democrats. Clinton was faced with Newt Gingrich as the first Republican Speaker of the House in 40 years, and Obama was faced with a Tea Party congress as America began the rightward movement that produced Trump today. Trump challenges almost every American tradition and norm of government. Trump has been documented in 5000 lies so far creating an alternative reality among his followers thanks to right wing alternative media and press. He attacks anyone who dares to disagree with him thanks to his 40 million social media followers, his own personal direct media. He has raised arrogance to unprecedented new levels with his cult of personality.
For further power and corruption research read the following:
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2018, August 26), “Power Corrupts Absolutely”, Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Power-Corrupts-Absolutely,2018161184.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute
Nominated Vetted for 2016, Given Odds for 2017 Nobel Peace Prize