Great Issues—Miller Center

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Great Issues: Scholarship in the Public Interest

More from Katherine Epstein

Was the British Empire Really Declining at the Turn of the Century? - Although many observers position the late nineteenth century as a period of terminal decline for the British Empire, Katherine Epstein suggests that the story might be more complicated. Epstein explains that at the turn of the century, Great Britain was still in many ways the global financial and naval hegemon, while the rising power of the United States was more tempered than many narratives might suggest. 

When Did the Military-Industrial Complex Emerge? - Katherine Epstein discusses her book, Torpedo: Inventing the Military-Industrial Complex in the United States and Great Britain. Epstein argues that the development of torpedo technology in the United States and Britain between the 1890s and World War I led to a new procurement relationship between public and private sectors in both countries. This relationship was characterized by an increased rate of government investment in private-sector weapons research and development that led to the emergence of the military-industrial complex.

The Problems of Government Contracting - Katherine Epstein discusses the perennial problems associated with the relationship between the U.S. federal government and private defense contractors. Instead of easing over time, Epstein argues that many of the negative consequences of defense contracting in the early twentieth century still characterize government contracting today.

Weaponization and the Dark Side of Globalization - Katherine Epstein discusses the emergence of a global arms market as a marker of the beginning of globalization. Although many narratives of globalization are characterized by liberalism, Epstein draws attention to the relationship between the military-industrial complex and globalization.

The Problem of Intellectual Property and Weapons Technology - Katherine Epstein discusses the problem of resolving intellectual property disputes between governments and the companies that produced torpedo technology. The problem of intellectual property, according to Epstein, comes from the fact that the governments were investing in the research and development phase of weapon technologies that were then being sold on international markets, raising difficult questions of how to disentangle the contributions made by various parties.