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.