Disordered by Design: Democratic Capitalism and the Warfare State, 1954-1961

Winokur, Justin, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hitchcock, William, History, University of Virginia

This thesis studies the U.S. ballistic missile program from 1954 to 1961 in order to analyze the emerging political economy of America's warfare state. It argues that American officials created a democratic capitalist warfare state by choosing to build a permanent defense establishment that was decentralized, privatized, normalized, and democratized. This organization emerged from structures baked into America's pre-Cold War political economy, as well as decisions designed to embrace traditional American ideals in the ideological conflict with the Soviet Union. These ideals were distorted by emergency measures policymakers considered necessary to survive an existential conflict. The collision between the order demanded by security and the disorder of democratic capitalism produced a new Cold War political economy in the United States, marked by a peacetime defense industry with an inherent expansionary drive that was outside the realm of executive control.

MA (Master of Arts)
Warfare State, Cold War, U.S. Political Economy, American Political Economy, Defense Establishment, Science and Technology Studies, National Security State, Military-Industrial Complex
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