Issue No. 62 - December/January 2011
WAR! What is it good for? Besides...
by Kimon Lycos and Kimon Lycos and Kimon Lycos and Kimon Lycos
Personally I would have to class myself as a pacifist. Perhaps outright coward could be another descriptor.
War for me is something to be avoided, due to the inherent risks and fact that I have no interest to play a role in the overall scheme of other people who want stuff like oil, power, and more money for themselves.
Oh, and I don’t look good in green.
However, war is a very natural part of life, and therefore business. As a model for innovation and commercialisation war is hard to beat, because normal commercial rules do not apply. In the race to either kill more effectively or become harder to kill, the organisations are well funded, without nancy-minded shareholders wondering about their potential returns.
War has delivered more than its fair share of marketable solutions which we take for granted, and has helped generate incredible wealth for large multinationals. War is a well-entrenched part of not just the human need to forcefully screw over other people, but also global business, marketing and technical development.
The absolute global epicentre for this effect is in the USA, which has perfected the art of combining military research with science to produce highly significant technology.
The Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA) carries the can for projects, which would be just too risky and expensive for normal commercialisation means.
Since coming into being in the late fifties, DARPA has created the Internet, mobile phone technology, lasers, rockets, weather satellites and is currently working on invisibility (mock them not. In theory it is as plausible as splitting the atom). Put just these few achievements together - they have done a lot more stuff - and it would be hard to think of any other organisation that has impacted on so many people in so many ways.
Fuelling this is a pretty big cheque book. In 2008 the worldwide spend on military gear was $1.4 trillion, of which the USA...