ABRAHAM S. BECKER (Santa Monica, Calif., U.S.A.) SITTING ON BA YONETS?: THE SOVIET DEFENSE BURDEN AND MOSCOW'S ECONOMIC DILEMMA Talleyrand is supposed to have told Napoleon, "You can do everything with bayonets, sire, except sit on them." Neither can they be eaten, of course, or clothe a family. But if the society sees the development of bayonet skills as its highest purpose, the provision of food, clothing, and shelter to the population will be slighted and the subordination will be justified by ideolo- gy. In most societies, however, military activities are not valued for them- selves, only for the security they provide to pursue other goals. This is the first condition under which military expenditure may be said to impose a bur- den on the society-that defense be seen as an instrument to unrelated ends. The second condition is that military activities use resources that would otherwise be employed in the civil economy, thereby reducing the potential level of other end uses of the national product. The existence of substantial unemployment and underutilized capacity (or the availibility of gifts from an external source) might permit an expansion in military production without sacrificing civilian output. The necessity for sacrifice
The Soviet and Post Soviet Review – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1983
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