Permanent War Economy

The first author to use the term “Permanent War Economy,” and to mean by that a form of military Keynesianism that was contemporary capitalism’s only way out, a means of transferring wealth from the working classes to capital by means of government taxation, was Edward Sard. Using the pen name Walter J. Oakes he first proposed this argument in an article in the February 1944 issue of the Politics, a magazine edited by Dwight MacDonald. He followed up with a six-part series in the New International in 1951. During the 1950s he also wrote a series of articles on works by A. A. Berle, John Strachey, and others who still clung to the hope held out by Keynes.

Sard was one of the few who continued to argue that capitalism could only be saved, at least temporarily, by massive arms expenditures and an imperialist policy aimed at controlling the world’s raw materials. In the 1950s and ’60s, during the artificial prosperity induced by the Permanent War Economy