National Mobilization: An Option in Future
Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, some
commentators drew a parallel between al Qaeda's strike and Japan's
bombing of Pearl Harbor, and between the ensuing struggle and the
Second World War. There was sporadic talk of mobilization, which
was easily enough dismissed as out of step with the realities of
the War on Terror. Unconventional warfighters like terrorists are
by definition immune to the massive concentrations
of power that are the traditional object of a mobilization. At the
same time, conventional war is generally regarded as oriented toward
smaller, more professional, and high-tech forces fighting in "demassified"
conflicts.1 However, despite a great
deal of hand-wringing on the part of social critics, the really
difficult question was not asked: Would a World War II-scale mobilization
even have been possible after 9/11 if it had been deemed an appropriate
With a much reduced emphasis on military competition
between the great powers and far less talk of American "declinism"
today than there was 15 years ago, the ability of major economies
to bear drastically enlarged military burdens has been discussed
far less of late. Even Paul Kennedy, who popularized the declinist
thesis in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in 1987, recently
backed away from it.2 Nonetheless, two
major developments have set the stage for a new debate on rises
in military expenditures.
The first of these developments is a changed
economic and fiscal outlook, specifically a return to the massive
US budget deficits of the 1980s, and less exuberant economic expectations
than was the case just a few years ago. The illusion of perfection
at no cost has largely faded. The other development is the demands
placed on US forces since 9/11, with talk of their being stretched
too thin by commitments in Iraq and elsewhere becoming fairly widespread.
While the possible emergence of a large peer
competitor has never disappeared from consideration, other motivations
for mobilization have emerged in recent years. One is the drive
to "terrorist-proof" the United States, the final bill
for which may run into the trillions.3
Another is a more open embrace of an "imperial" position
likely to involve more preventative and unilateral actions, as well
as prolonged occupations and nation-building projects, and the extension
of America's sphere of influence to new regions like sub-Saharan
Africa and Central Asia. These factors already have led to the post-9/11
expansion of the defense budget and the institution of the Department
of Homeland Security, hailed as the biggest reshuffling of the executive
branch since 1947. They also have brought renewed discussion of
conscription and the expansion of the armed forces, with bills pending
in Congress to increase the US armed forces by tens of thousands
of personnel over the next five years.
American requirements, capacities, and investments
aside, the question of military expansion also speaks to the capacities
of other nations and the relationship of the United States with
them, in terms of both the dangers of great power conflict and the
international distribution of security responsibilities. The European
Union and Japan, for instance, have been seeking to develop militaries
capable of meeting enlarged international responsibilities since
well before 9/11, efforts which have been extremely sluggish. Europe
set for itself the relatively modest goal of being able to deploy
a 60,000-strong force 3,000 miles away for one year by 2003. That
target date has come and gone, and it seems unlikely that any such
force will be made operational before 2012-if then. The Defense
Capabilities Initiative, intended to close the growing technological
gap between Europe and the United States, has been similarly disappointing.4
Observers looking to explain that sluggishness,
like Robert Kagan in his recent book On Paradise and Power, have
commonly focused on the relatively pacifistic political cultures
of the EU's member states. However, these nations have been grappling
with sluggish economies for a much longer time, and in many cases
also with fiscal crises which dwarf what the United States now faces.
Given the massive cost of a fundamental expansion or restructuring
of their armed forces, this factor cannot be lightly dismissed.
It also throws a light on what other states (i.e. China) might do
if and when they gain the economic wherewithal to pose a challenge
to the United States. To what degree would they be able to translate
their new economic power into military power?
The question is not an easy one to answer.
To date none of the "New Economies" has been forced to
undertake a large-scale military mobilization. However, if a real
need arose to do so, they would no doubt make the attempt. The issue
then is just how far they can go in such a mobilization, and how
long they might be able to sustain it. While this article cannot
be the final word in such an argument, it also is not the first.
Accordingly, it is appropriate to review some of the discussion
of this issue in recent years.
Mobilizing in the Post-Industrial Era
It may seem counterintuitive to question the
capability of today's advanced economies to mobilize relative to
where they stood a half century or more ago when they were much
smaller and less sophisticated. In 2002 the US economy was ten times
as large as it was in 1940, and roughly five times as large as it
was in 1945.5 Nevertheless, that growth
has partially been fueled by changes which are trade-offs from the
standpoint of mobilization.
The first is that geography offers less advantage
today than it did in the 1940s, as the case of the United States
makes clear. The fact that the United States was richly endowed
with natural resources and physically isolated from the main World
War II battlefronts by two oceans allowed its industrial base to
mobilize unimpeded by fighting, in contrast with Britain or Japan,
each dependent on vulnerable sea lanes, or Germany, subjected to
strategic bombing. A greater reliance today on imported natural
resources and manufacturing practices dependent on outsourced components
makes the United States much more susceptible to such interference.
This goes not only for attacks by an adversary, but the precautions
involved in tightening up the borders, as demonstrated in the wake
of 9/11. "Transportation issues played havoc with order flows
and drove up shipping costs," and the plants practicing just-in-time
manufacturing, like those belonging to Ford, Honda, and Toyota,
came to a halt.6 At the macroeconomic
level the result was a one-percent drop in American industrial production,
largely due to the disruption of industry in the week before a semblance
of normality returned.
Changes in military technology also make it
more difficult for the United States to insulate itself from a conflict
abroad. Long-range aircraft and missiles permit attacks on the US
homeland. This includes not only strategic forces like those of
Russia and China, but the prospect of crude cruise missiles launched
from offshore freighters by smaller opponents, a feat arguably within
the reach of terrorist groups. It also includes the widened possibilities
for infiltration and attack by saboteurs, terrorists, and special
forces units, given easier transport and more effective, compact
weapons, even if they do not possess weapons of mass destruction.
A sophisticated adversary could dispatch a large number of such
teams to infiltrate the United States and cause havoc in wartime,
a threat against which elaborate missile defense schemes would be
useless. Computer attacks, similarly, are undeterred by distance,
and attacks by single viruses in the past, like the "Love Bug,"
are estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damages. Should
such attacks be staged by a large, determined force of cyberwarriors
rather than a single cracker, the damage to the economy could be
Second, several studies in recent decades have
pointed to a neglect of traditional manufacturing and heavy industry
as a problem.7 Manufacturing now provides
14 percent of America's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rather than
the nearly 27 percent it provided in the aftermath of World War
II.8 Indeed, the problem of the United
States in the 1930s was underutilization of its vast industrial
capacity, due to a lack of demand. Factories were left at a standstill
and a quarter of the labor force out of work in the Great Depression.
With the war effort providing new demand, America's economic output
grew 75 percent during the conflict, after adjustment for inflation.
By contrast, a recent RAND Corporation report has noted that should
it become necessary for the US Army to equip and arm more than the
26 heavy divisions for which equipment is already available, the
lack of industrial capacity would represent the biggest problem
for further expansion.9
The changing nature of economic productivity
is also a reason why industrial bases may be less susceptible to
mobilization today than they were a half-century ago. Computerization,
and the practices enabled by it like just-in-time manufacturing,
mean that increases in productivity often have been accompanied
by tighter coupling and less slack.10
Older, less efficient ways of going about an activity are eliminated
through standardization of process and procedure, leaving less room
for improvisation or adaptation.11
This suggests a greater level of difficulty in converting civilian
production, and, more important, a heightened vulnerability to disruptions,
demonstrated by the damage the 9/11 attack's ripple effects inflicted
on the financial markets and the manufacturing and transport sectors.12
Combined with the "demassified" character of modern industrial
production and warfare, this makes it very unlikely that the United
States would experience a wartime economic boom comparable to that
of the 1940s, helping to bear the burden of such drastically heightened
spending. Without the 15-20 percent per year real GDP growth of
the early war years, the Herculean effort America made in that conflict
would have simply been out of the question. That defense spending
in 1945 was roughly equal to the country's whole income in 1941
in dollar terms is ample proof of this.
Third, critics have frequently pointed to diminished
civic militarism as an obstacle to such efforts, noting the formidable
political resistance among citizens to paying higher taxes or serving
in the military. The widespread support for military action following
the 9/11 attacks did not translate into an equally widespread willingness
among Americans to enlist, or make conscription less unthinkable
politically.13 This trend is variously
attributed to a culture of consumption and self-indulgence, the
"law of the increasing cost of war,"14
cultural change from the 1960s on,15
a lack of leadership on the part of elites generally eschewing military
service,16 or some combination of these
Nevertheless, there is considerable room for
argument with these claims. The fact remains that the territory
of the United States remains relatively secure from conventional
and unconventional attack. Western Europe is much more vulnerable
to Middle Eastern missiles than the United States, and even the
War on Terror is being fought primarily abroad. The relative shrinkage
of manufacturing in terms of its share of jobs or contribution to
the Gross Domestic Product, or the reduction in the output of traditional
heavy industry, is not synonymous with the absolute decline of industry.
While total steel production has declined since 1973,17
output turned back up in the 1990s and the total dollar value of
American manufacturing has risen since then. The perils of computer
warfare may also have been overhyped, perhaps grossly so if experts
like Martin Libicki are to be believed.18
It also can be pointed out that nostalgia about the World War II
era has obscured the actualities of that period, with partisan and
domestic politics not simply disappearing after Pearl Harbor. It
also may be argued that smaller, volunteer forces are a much more
practical tool than larger, draft-based armies for the sorts of
constabulary missions which will make up the bulk of the military's
duties in the near future. The soldiers who fought World War II
were called on to "fight and win America's wars" rather
than to act as an imperial army, as Eliot Cohen notes.19
Nor was the patience of the American people infinite even where
this task was concerned. By 1945 there was considerable pressure
on the Roosevelt/Truman Administration to "bring the boys home."
The fact also remains that other countries,
in less geographically advantageous positions, are subject to the
same trends. The shift away from heavy manufacturing, the vulnerabilities
attendant on rising economic interconnection, and cultural and political
trends undermining civic militarism also are evident elsewhere,
particularly in Western Europe and Japan. Indeed, particularly with
regard to cultural developments, they are even more pronounced in
these nations than in the United States, as observers like Kagan
would suggest. This is not to say that these points should be lightly
dismissed, of course. However, they are only dimensions of the larger
issue, and another aspect of the issue is well worth examining,
the slack present not in single industries, but rather in whole
Slack and Mobilization
While commonly discussed in a much more limited
sense, the concept of slack carries over to entire societies, which
depend on untapped human and material resources for pursuing new
endeavors or meeting emergencies. The level of governmental activity
as a part of overall societal activity-specifically its patterns
of taxation, spending, and debt-offers a guide to how much slack
a society has. The reason is simple. Endeavors like mobilization
represent an abrupt enlargement of government spending, and have
to be paid for by redirecting the nation's resources, typically
by raising taxes or borrowing money. Looking at how much a government
taxes, spends, or owes in relative terms under normal circumstances
gives a clue to what resources are not being exploited at the time,
and therefore how much more it might be able to do in the event
of an emergency. A higher level of untaxed income, lower spending
levels, and a lower debt burden are representative of greater slack,
Given the popularity of comparisons of the
present with World War II, during the last two years of which the
United States devoted 37 percent of its national income to the war
effort, it would be useful to contrast today's fiscal situation
with that era's. Gross debt was equal to 52.4 percent of US Gross
Domestic Product in 1940, and that was after a decade of economic
contraction in the Great Depression. By contrast it was 60 percent
in 2002 at the end of a prolonged economic boom and years of what
were by some measures budget surpluses-unusually good times in the
view of economists, rather than unusually bad ones. More important,
overall tax levels were far lower. Federal revenue levels in 1940
were 6.8 percent of GDP, compared with 18 to 20 percent of GDP in
recent decades, or three times as much.
Additionally, while the United States accumulated
massive debt in the World War II years (equal to 120 percent of
GDP) the postwar drawdown, combined with postwar economic growth,
was sufficient to reduce that proportion over the decades that followed,
even through years of deficits. Between 1946 and 1980 the debt level
fell from 121.6 percent of GDP to 32.5 percent, by almost three-quarters.
In the 1950s, during the early part of this drop, it occurred while
defense spending ranged from 9.3 to 14.2 percent, often in years
of lighter taxes and budget surpluses.20
It should be pointed out that fewer social programs were being funded
in the 1950s than later. However, even in the 1960s and 1970s, with
programs like Medicare largely in place, the United States fighting
the Vietnam War, and deficits the norm, America's economic growth
still outpaced the expansion of its debt.
By contrast the national debt spiked upward
sharply in the 1980s, with defense expenditures at levels of only
5 to 6.5 percent of GDP, these relatively lower expenditures apparently
less supportable than the higher spending of a decade or two earlier.
It took World War I to turn Britain from a creditor nation into
a debtor nation. The 1980s, with their comparatively much lower
level of strain, were sufficient to effect that transformation for
the United States. The short-lived fiscal optimism of the late 1990s
aside, it is clear that any conceivable combination of defense cuts
and economic growth would be insufficient to pay down the debt the
United States accumulated during the late Cold War. Moreover, today
defense spending in the area of only four percent of GDP goes along
with budget deficits and increases in the debt comparable to those
of the 1980s.
The heightening of security spending since
9/11 is responsible for only a fraction of recent deficits (about
a fourth of it, according to one estimate), but that this spending
is contributing to the debt is still indicative of the problem of
a tighter fiscal situation. Additionally, consistent with this picture,
the direction in which the US economy is moving is toward more spending,
more debt, and, at least proportionately, less slack, for a number
of reasons which have nothing to do with the War on Terror. The
most widely discussed of these is the pressure which aging populations
are putting on the social safety net, already a major driver of
deficit growth.21 The federal debt
is expected to almost double to $11.8 trillion by 2013, at which
time the retirement of the baby boomers could send the debt spiraling
still higher. By 2030, spending on the elderly could rise by 80
percent relative to national income, threatening peacetime deficits
dwarfing those of the 1980s or today.22
Such straight-line projections have their limitations, but today
it is difficult to conceive of alternative scenarios given the drivers
of such change. Social Security payouts aside, essential services
like health care are becoming more expensive relative to income.23
Also consistent with a trend toward older populations, though not
entirely due to it, savings rates have declined24
and private debt has risen,25 placing
other strains on the tax base. No one expects the cost of health
care to drop in the foreseeable future, or the trend toward an older
population to reverse itself, but the contrary.
Another reason which should not be overlooked
is the rate of economic growth, so crucial to absorbing and recovering
from shocks, as after World War II. Despite the hype about a global
economy turbo-charged by integration and information technology,
epitomized by authors like Thomas Friedman, world economic growth
has actually slowed in recent decades. The rate of world GDP expansion
fell from 5.3 percent a year in the 1960s to 3.9 percent in the
1970s, 3.2 percent in the 1980s, and only 2.3 percent in the 1990s.26
This pattern has been evident throughout the
developed as well as the undeveloped states, so that it cannot be
explained away as simply an object lesson in the advantages of backwardness,
or the gap between "competitive and noncompetitive" states.
Certainly, China's and India's comparative underdevelopment is a
strong contributor to their high growth rates, and US competitiveness
explains its having stronger growth than Europe and Japan. From
1995 to 2000 America's economy was expanding at almost five percent
a year. However, this level of growth was the exception and not
the rule for the United States as well as the rest of the world.
American performance over the whole decade was only a bit over three
percent after adjustment for inflation, not much better than that
of the 1970s or 1980s. Reports of six percent GDP growth in the
last half of 2003, all the rage among economists at the time of
this writing, should therefore be kept in perspective.27
Of course an economic picture contrasting so
starkly with the conventional wisdom requires some explanation.
The propensity of stable societies to develop special interest groups
and the acceleration of the rate of change to the point of "future
shock"28 have been identified
by some observers as causes. Complexity science suggests a broader
theory, Joseph Tainter arguing that beyond a certain point a society's
investments in new institutions or activities tend to produce diminishing
returns, consuming their slack.29 These
arguments are all well worth exploring, but doing so would be beyond
the scope of this article. Moreover, whatever the precise cause,
the implications are obvious. Slowing growth means that public goods
once easily afforded and which electorates and governments are loathe
to curtail weigh more heavily on the tax base. Debt mounts, the
costs of debt service rise, and interest rates go up to the detriment
of growth. Citizens pay more for less, making them resistant to
the imposition of any further demands in a vicious cycle.
Of course it is frequently claimed that should
the need arise, the United States could muster the political will
to raise taxes or slash spending in other areas. However, an honest
look at the historical record shows that partisan and domestic politics
have not simply been swept aside in the name of national interest
during mobilizations, even in the 1940s.30
Where taxes are concerned, the fact remains that today's tax levels
are broadly equivalent to those levied during the Second World War.
Federal revenue levels peaked at 20.9 percent of GDP in 1944, compared
with the 20 percent raised in peacetime in recent years.31
The political challenges facing those who would rewrite the bills
authorizing mandatory spending, particularly those affecting the
elderly, need no elaboration. Rather than a tax hike or Social Security
reform, what has materialized thus far in this decade is a sizable
tax cut and the passage of a prescription drug benefit for Medicare
recipients, the largest entitlement since the Great Society programs
of the 1960s. Moreover, according to the various explanations given
by observers concerned with the economic and fiscal picture, this
may be the rule and not the exception in the years to come.
In short, the United States of World War II
and most of the Cold War was a substantially less-taxed, lower spending,
and less indebted society than today's, giving it more fiscal slack
on which to draw in the event of an emergency. Along with its higher
rate of economic growth, this enabled a rapid fiscal recovery after
the spending surge. There was little sign of this happening after
the Cold War, and even less than that today with deficits of $400
to $600 billion a year projected for the next several years, and
which will grow greater still as the baby boomers retire. It would
be going much too far to say that this makes a substantially enlarged
military or even outright mobilization impossible, but it is safe
to say that it makes it harder to come by the necessary resources.
Since it would be more difficult to raise taxes today than in the
1940s, more of the money needed to sustain a war effort would have
to be borrowed. These additional loans would come on top of a rising
structural deficit and higher debt burden, as is happening today.
Nevertheless, the picture should be kept in
perspective. No foreseeable threat requires anything remotely close
to a World War II or even Korea-level commitment. The War on Terror,
at least as it is presently being fought, has relatively little
bearing on these actualities, though this could change if the more
ambitious schemes some have proposed are adopted. Moreover, the
case of the United States is by no means unique, and its problems
actually are milder than those of most other developed nations.
Among the G-7 (Group of Seven) countries, government outlays rose
from 27 to 36.6 percent of GDP between 1965 and 2001.32
Gross debt as a percentage of GDP rose from 40.8 to 73.6 percent
between 1977 and 2001. While Europe has generally had bigger governments,
this rise occurred despite cuts in many of the welfare benefits
paid out and the privatization and decentralization of many social
services, measures widely marketed as improving their efficiency.33
In the 1990s Japan's debt exploded to a crushing one and a half
times the nation's GDP, and it is likely to continue rising for
some time to come, without a substantial increase in the size of
the Japanese government.34 Both regions
also have seen their growth slow dramatically since the 1980s, when
they were widely supposed to be on the verge of driving the United
States out of its spot as number one.
In other words, the United States, aside from
still enjoying by far the largest economy, remains a faster-growing,
less indebted society than the other technologically advanced nations,
and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
The stresses posed by aging populations and the like are also milder
in the case of the United States than in Japan or Europe, with their
older populations, earlier retirement, and more generous benefits.
Of course this leaves open the question of China, said to be rapidly
becoming "the workshop of the world." The hype surrounding
China's economic expansion, however, tends to minimize its significant
problems, such as its own aging population, insolvent banking system,
growing reliance on costly energy imports, and mounting debt.35
The statistics reporting ten percent growth are notoriously spotty,
and numerous observers suggest they have been exaggerated for years.
Even were they accurate, such growth rates cannot be sustained forever
and will likely fall dramatically before China attains a per-capita
income remotely comparable to that of the United States or other
industrialized nations. This may make it less likely to be a peer
competitor to the United States anytime soon than is widely imagined.
The question of just what a developed economy
can or cannot do, of course, is by no means a simple one. Nevertheless,
a look at the key facts-such as changes in economic structures,
technology, and cultural attitudes-raises serious questions about
the capacity of the United States to mobilize to meet security needs.
The crucial factor may be that the slack required for sustaining
a military mobilization is gradually being depleted, at least as
measured by slowing economic growth and the worsening fiscal picture
for the United States and other major nations. If this is problematic
today, it is likely to be far worse by 2020 or 2030, given current
trends. It also should be noted that this disappearing slack additionally
affects the ability of the United States to respond to other problems
or seize other opportunities, like undertaking an ambitious program
of space exploration or coping with an environmental disaster.
The long-term solution to the problem clearly
will lie in dealing with the problems posed by slowing economic
growth and the growing fiscal imbalances. That will mean tough decisions
with respect to entitlements, tax codes, and other policies. It
also will require the exploitation of new technologies which can
keep economic growth a step ahead of debt growth, and perhaps ameliorate
certain security burdens like the assurance of resource security.
While information technology gets all the attention, these innovations
may run the gamut from solar-and wind-generated electricity to carbon
nanotubes to desktopmanufacturing.36
Many of these are areas where the lead of the United States over
the rest of the world is much less clear than it is in software,
and sound policies for acquiring and keeping such a lead may be
In the meantime, this reading of the situation
carries with it a number of implications relevant to policy today.
Most important, the emergence of a peer competitor to the United
States in the 2025 time frame may be less likely as a result of
their facing similarly tightened financial and economic constraints.
Not surprisingly, the expansion of military capability on the part
of the other potential candidates has been much slower than expected.
Despite some budget hikes since 9/11, Europe's earlier plans to
develop a long-range military capability will not be realized within
the decade. Japan's steps forward have been gradual enough that
six years after North Korea fired a missile over its territory it
still lacks a truly usable strike capability against Pyongyang.
China's modernization of its military has essentially consisted
of attaching small numbers of modern systems to a downsized but
still very large force of obsolescent units.
The United States consequently will retain
a position of leadership indefinitely, in large part because of
the weakness of other states, including China. Nonetheless, while
America's tax, spending, and debt levels remain below those of most
other advanced states, and its economic growth rate higher, the
overall trends are cause for concern. The United States, less able
to count on the means of its allies even when they are willing,
needs to acknowledge the limits of its own resources in providing
for security at home and abroad.
Again, as was the case in the late 1980s, America's
finances must be seen as a security issue as well as an economic
one. While defense spending now plays only a partial role in alleviating
or increasing the present and future fiscal difficulties, those
fiscal problems must be recognized as limiting how much of a burden
the United States could take on in the future. The danger of "overstretch,"
highlighted by the nearly singlehanded conduct of the war in Iraq,
should not be lightly dismissed. It is certainly true that the United
States can hardly escape involvement abroad. Nevertheless, at a
minimum, a conservatism toward acquiring additional commitments
1. Alvin and Heidi Toffler,
War and Anti-War (New York: Little, Brown, 1993).
2. Paul Kennedy, "Empire
Without Overstretch," Wilson Quarterly, 26 (Summer 2002), 62-64.
3. Committee on Science
and Technology for Countering Terrorism, National Research Council,
Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering
Terrorism (Washington: National Academies Press, 2002).
4. Steven E. Meyer,
"Carcass of Dead Policies: The Irrelevance of NATO," Parameters,
33 (Winter 2003-04), 92-93.
5. US Department of
Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Current Dollar and
'Real' GDP, 1929-2002," http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn/home/gdp.htm.
6. Brian S. Wesbury,
"The Economic Cost of Terrorism," September 11, One Year
Later: A Special Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State,
September 2002, http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itgic/0902/ijge/ijge0902.htm.
7. John N. Ellison,
Jeffrey W. Frumkin, and Timothy W. Stanley, Mobilizing U.S. Industry:
A Vanishing Option for National Security? (Boulder, Colo.: Westview
Press, 1988); James A. Denwar, Steven C. Bankes, Sean Edwards, Expandability
of the 21st Century Army (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2000).
8. US Department of
Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, "1947-2001 Gross Domestic
Product by Industry," http://www.bea.gov/bea/dn2/gpo.htm.
9. Denwar et al.
10. Gene I. Rochlin,
Trapped in the Net: The Unanticipated Consequences of Computerization
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998), p. 213.
11. Ibid., pp. 35-50.
13. Already the overreliance
on reserve units is exacerbating the recruitment and retention problem
of the 1990s. Dave Moniz, "Army Reserves Fear Troop Exodus,"
USA Today, 30 September 2003.
14. Robert Gilpin,
War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press,
15. Elliott Abrams
and Andrew J. Bacevich, "A Symposium on Citizenship and Military
Service," Parameters, 31 (Summer 2001), 18-22; Eliot A. Cohen,
"Army Recruiting and the Civil-Military Gap," Parameters,
31 (Summer 2001), 101-17.
16. Ralph Peters,
"Hucksters in Uniform," The Washington Monthly, 31 (May
17. US Geological
Survey, "Iron and Steel Statistics," http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/of01-006/ironandsteel.pdf.
18. Martin Libicki,
"Rethinking War: The Mouse's New Roar," Foreign Policy,
No. 117 (Winter 1999-2000), pp. 30-43.
19. Eliot Cohen, "Why
the Gap Matters," The National Interest, No. 61 (Fall 2000).
20. Office of Management
and Budget (OMB), Historical Tables: Budget of the United States
Government, Fiscal Year 2003 (Washington: GPO, 2002), p. 116.
Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2004-2013,
22. Robert J. Samuelson,
"Medicare as Pork Barrel," Newsweek, 1 December 2003.
23. "Health Spending
Outpaces Economic Growth," OECD in Washington, No. 37 (September
2002), p. 2.
24. Milt Marquis,
"What's Behind the Low U.S. Personal Savings Rate?" Federal
Reserve Bank of San Fransisco Economic Letter, No. 2002-09, 29 March
25. Federal Reserve
Board, press release, "Household Debt-Service Burden,"
B. Canner, Arthur B. Kennickell, and Charles A. Luckett, "Household
Sector Borrowing and the Burden of Debt," Federal Reserve Bulletin,
April 1995, p. 323; David Broder, "Our Crushing Personal Debt,"
The Washington Post, 1 September 2002.
26. World Trade Organization,
International Trade Statistics (Geneva: World Trade Organization,
2001), Table II.1.
27. There are also
those who would argue that GDP is itself a crude tool of measurement
which may overstate progress because, strictly speaking, it is an
index of activity rather than wealth, and because of what it specifically
fails to count. Clifford Cobb, Ted Halstead, and Jonathan Rowe,
"If the GDP is Up, Why is America Down?" The Atlantic
Monthly, October 1995, pp. 59-78; Jonathan Rowe and Judith Silverstein,
"The GDP Myth: Why 'Growth' Isn't Always a Good Thing,"
The Washington Monthly, 31 (March 1999), 17-21.
28. Alvin Toffler,
Future Shock (New York: Random House, 1970); David Shenk, Data Smog
(San Fransisco: HarperEdge, 1997).
29. Joseph Tainter,
The Collapse of Complex Societies (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press,
1988), pp. 91-126, 209-16. In this context complexity "invokes
asymmetric relationships that reflect organization and restraint,"
or synergy, between numerous, interdependent parts. T. F. H. Allen,
Joseph Tainter, and Thomas W. Hoekstra, Supply-Side Sustainability
(New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2003), p. 64.
30. Alan L. Gropnan,
"Mobilizing U.S. Industry in World War II: Myth and Reality,"
McNair Paper 50 (Washington: Institute for National Strategic Studies,
1996), pp. 139-40.
31. OMB, Historical
Tables, p. 116.
32. Canada, Department
of Finance, Fiscal Reference Tables, "International Fiscal
Comparisons," October 2002, http://www.fin.gc.ca/toce/2002/frt_e.html.
33. Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Economic Outlook, No.
69 (June 2001), p. 182.
34. Scott B. MacDonald
and Jonathan Lemco, "Japan's Slow-Moving Economic Avalanche,"
Current History, 100 (April 2002), 172-76.
35. Gordon G. Chang,
The Coming Collapse of China (New York: Random House, 2001); Martin
Walker, "China and the New Era of Resource Scarcity,"
World Policy Journal, 13 (Spring 1996), 8-14; Mark Clifford, "Bankrupt
Logic About China's Debts," BusinessWeek, 22 November 2002.
36. For some thoughts on this
matter, see Thomas K. Adams, "Radical Destabilizing Effects
of New Technologies," Parameters, 28 (Autumn 1998), 99-111;
also see Douglass Mulhall, Our Molecular Future (Amherst, N.Y.:
Prometheus Books, 2002).
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