David L. Warsh


The defense industry has been an integral part of the Massachusetts economy since colonial days, and the Watertown Arsenal and Springfield rifle are virtually synonymous with the capital-intensive arms business of the nineteenth century. But after World War II, here as elsewhere, defense production became far more deeply embedded in the state 's division of labor, with the result that today it is hard to tell what is of military origin and what is not: the minicomputer and software industries, in their entirety, are properly viewed as a spin-off from the Cold War and the space race, for example. The region's unique claim on these downstream effects of military spending stems partly from Yankee ingenuity, mostly from a highly developed educational establishment and an influential political delegation to Congress. These institutional matrices are also the chief strongholds of Massachusetts's traditional antimilitary liberalism, an arrangement which gives rise to many paradoxes, but wisdom begins with an appreciation of just how intricate and powerful and resistant to challenge is the military industrial complex itself.



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