For more than half a century, the United States has led the world in developing major technologies that drive the modern economy and underpin its prosperity. In America, Inc., Linda Weiss attributes the U.S. capacity for transformative innovation to the strength of its national security state, a complex of agencies, programs, and hybrid arrangements that has developed around the institution of permanent defense preparedness and the pursuit of technological supremacy. She examines how that complex emerged and how it has evolved in response to changing geopolitical threats and domestic political constraints, from the Cold War period to the post-9/11 era.Weiss focuses on state-funded venture capital funds, new forms of technology procurement by defense and security-related agencies, and innovation in robotics, nanotechnology, and renewable energy since the 1980s. Weiss argues that the national security state has been the crucible for breakthrough innovations, a catalyst for entrepreneurship and the formation of new firms, and a collaborative network coordinator for private-sector initiatives. Her book appraises persistent myths about the military-commercial relationship at the core of the National Security State. Weiss also discusses the implications for understanding U.S. capitalism, the American state, and the future of American primacy as financialized corporations curtail investment in manufacturing and innovation.
1. The National Security State and Technology Leadership
The U.S. Puzzle
Re-viewing the NSS–Private Sector Relationship
Existing Accounts: Discounting, Sidelining, Civilianizing the State
The Approach of This Book
New Thinking on the American State
2. Rise of the National Security State as Technology Enterprise
Growth: The Sputnik Effect (1958–1968)
Crisis: Legitimation and Innovation Deficits (1969–1979)
Reform and Reorientation: Beginnings (1980–1989)
Reform and Reorientation: Consolidation (1990–1999)
3. Investing in New Ventures
Geopolitical Roots of the U.S. Venture Capital Industry
Post–Cold War Trends: New Funds for a New Security Environment4. Beyond Serendipity: Procuring Transformative Technology
Technology Procurement versus R&D: The Activist Element of Government Purchasing
Spin-Off and Spin-Around—Serendipitous and Purposeful
Breaching the Wall: Edging Toward Military-Commercial (Re-)Integration
5. Reorienting the Public-Private Partnership
Structural Changes in the Domestic Arena
Reorientation: The Quest for Commercial Viability
Beyond a Military-Industrial Divide: Innovating for Both Security and Commerce
6. No More Breakthroughs?
Post-9/11 Decline of the NSS Technology Enterprise?
Nanotechnology: A Coordinated Effort
Robotics: The Drive for Drones
Clean Energy: From Laggard to Leader?
Caveat: A Faltering NSS Innovation Engine?
7. Hybridization and American Antistatism
The Significance of Hybridization
An American Tendency?
Nature of the Beast: Neither "Privatization" nor "Outsourcing"
8. Penetrating the Myths of the Military-Commercial Relationship
Four Myths Laid Bare
Hidden Industrial Policy
Wall of Separation and Military-Industrial Complex
R&D Spending Creates Innovation Leadership
The Defense Spending Question: In Search of the Holy Grail?
9. Hybrid State, Hybrid Capitalism, Great Power Turning Point
Comparative Institutions and Varieties of Capitalism
The American State
Great Power Turning Point
"This dense, powerful volume offers profound insights into the U.S. innovation system and its driving forces....It deserves close attention from anyone with an interest in innovation or America's place at the technological frontier."
Mark Zachary Taylor
Political Science Quarterly
"While America Inc.? is not a book for those desiring a normative critique of US policy, it is, instead, an invaluable analytical explanation as to how the US has been preeminent in its inexorable innovative drive to achieve and maintain its defense primacy. As such, Weiss lays out a forceful challenge to the traditional conceptualization of the US as a paradigmatic liberal capitalist state."
Dr. Maryanne Kelton
Australian Institute of International Affairs
"America Inc.? is a timely book on the contribution of state investment in national security to U.S. technological leadership. Challenging much received wisdom about the American state and the linkages between national security and economic development, Linda Weiss advances an original, compelling argument about how geopolitical imperatives have driven American technological innovation since World War II. This is an important book that merits the attention of scholars and practitioners alike."
Peter Trubowitz, London School of Economics, author of Politics and Strategy: Partisan Ambition and American Statecraft
"As the quintessential Cold War institution, MIT spawned innovation from the military industrial complex to the digital age. This perceptive exegesis of the American state as technology progenitor goes a long way to debunk the myth of the free market and the Silicon Valley start-up entrepreneur."
William W. Keller, University of Georgia, author of Arm in Arm: The Political Economy of the Global Arms Trade