Torpedo Vol. 4 (Torpedo Vol. 1)

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For those who have an interest in the evolution of the naval powers of the United States and Great Britain in the prewar era, Torpedo is an excellent historic piece that reviews the changing nature of naval technologies and the process of secondary change that must then follow in both complementary technologies and military tactics. Though the historical work on the torpedo is both detailed and enthralling, Epstein attempts to do more with this book than simply expound on a specific weapon system.

As the subtitle of Torpedo indicates, Epstein desires to use the weapon system and its technological and manufacturing advances to show how the torpedo industry was instrumental in creating the early foundations of the modern-day military-industrial complex in both the United States and Great Britain. The companies and their respective governments became entangled during this period as each strived to be at the vanguard of torpedo manufacturing. The mechanism of this intertwining, according to Epstein, was the confluence of intellectual-property rights of jointly produced torpedoes.

The key lever deals with the nature of military funds. As the state in both the United States and Great Britain became more involved in both finance and technological experimentation and design through the Torpedo Station and the Royal Gun Factory, respectively, the lines between public and private intellectual property became blurred. Epstein argues that the blurring of lines at the heart of this central question is what ultimately led to the militaryindustrial complex.

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Although the partnership in production did exist, Epstein ultimately does not achieve her goal of showing that the military-industrial complex emerged from the torpedo-production process. Certainly there are hints of future problems that would have to be addressed, but within the existing work they remain hints.

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The claim that the military-industrial complex is due solely or even principally to the purchase agreements between the military and private firms is something of a stretch. As illustrated by this analysis, the military-industrial complex comprises more than just the interaction between the navy and the industrial researchers creating the torpedo or any other technology. Yet Epstein does not move beyond the surface of this connection and narrowly focuses on the relations between industry leaders and naval command.

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It is true that patent and copyright issues emerge when there is technological feedback between a buyer and a seller, but such issues in and of themselves do not lead to a sustained complex and the permanent war economy that accompanies it see, for instance, Seymour Melman, The Permanent War Economy: American Capitalism in Decline [New York: St. Duncan and Christopher J. Torpedo manufacture was often experimental, and there was some controversy over pricing experimental technology at times pp.

She briefly explores the desires of Congress pp. These cookies track usage of the site for security, analytics and targeted advertising purposes. If you wish to disable cookies, you may do so through your individual browser options.

Torpedo Vol. 4

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