Examination of the military-industrial complex (MIC) controversy. The MIC is more heterogeneous and divided than extremists suppose; the defense sector employs more budgetary controls than do other sectors spending enormous governmental resource allocations. These other industrial complexes (OIC) should also be examined. The extent to which we buy defense above our "needs" depends on our response to three variables: the estimate of the threat, the social-opportunity benefits foregone, and the efficiency of the defense production services. Several characteristics of the MIC invite criticism: its secrecy, complexity, and the absence of opposition prevent outsiders from judging its worth; its self-perpetuating nature, the appeal to patriotism, the scale of defense spending, and institutional rigidity all contribute to the misestimation felt to exist in defense spending. None of these characteristics applies solely to the MIC; all are present in OICs such as health and education. 16 pp. (SM)
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