Jennifer Mittelstadt and Mark R. Wilson, "The Military and the Market" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)


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Throughout its history, the U.S. military has worked in close connection to market-based institutions and structures. It has run systems of free and unfree labor, taken over private sector firms, and both spurred and snuffed out economic development. It has created new markets―for consumer products, for sex work, and for new technologies. It has operated as a regulator of industries and firms and an arbitrator of labor practices. And in recent decades it has gone so far as to refashion itself from the inside, so as to become more similar to a for-profit corporation.

The Military and the Market (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022) covers two centuries of history of the U.S. military’s vast and varied economic operations, including its often tense relationships with capitalist markets. Collecting new scholarship at the intersection of the fields of military history, business history, policy history, and the history of capitalism, the nine chapters feature important new research on subjects ranging from Civil War soldier-entrepreneurs, to the business of the construction of housing and overseas bases for the Cold War, to the U.S. military’s troubled relationships with markets for sex. The volume enriches scholars’ understandings of the depth and complexity of military-market relations in U.S. history and offers today’s military policymakers novel insights about the origins of current arrangements and how they might be reimagined.

Jennifer Mittelstadt is Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of The Rise of the Military Welfare State.

Mark R. Wilson is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and author of Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Alex Beckstrand is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut, a lecturer at Central Connecticut State University, and an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves. He works in the aerospace industry.

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