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U.S. Economy Is Paying Dearly for Resources Spent on Defense Buildup

June 28, 1987

In his June 14 column, "Japan's Business Prowess More Myth Than Reality," Warren Bennis gives some good examples of areas in which the Japanese have successfully competed with us. He points out that they did this by developing new means of production and new products, whereas our managers, who were complacent and short-run oriented, did not.

However, I think there is another reason, and that has to do with military spending. It is well known that the Japanese spend much less of their national output on defense than we do. As a result, while we have more than 25% of our scientists and engineers involved in building better machines of destruction, in Japan they are designing and building better machines for consumers and business.

Research also shows that nations with high military spending invest less in new plants and equipment, which is required for increased productivity and continued competitiveness.

Our obsession with finding "national security" through military means actually is going to cost us our security as our nation becomes less competitive in world markets, thus providing fewer jobs and a lower standard of living for our people. War doesn't work anymore, and the sooner we redirect our resources, the better off we will be.

JOSEPH C. KRESSE JR.

Santa Monica

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