A term first used by President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell speech (aka "President Eisenhower's 'Military-Industrial Complex' Speech"):
When the economy is based upon a state of war, we are forever looking to sustain that economy by staying in a war. Military involvement throughout the world may sustain the economy, but it means that our very livelihood is based upon the murder of millions world-wide. For instance, much of General Electric's profits come from nuclear power plants (as well as media outlets NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC). This can easily be converted to creating nuclear weapons--particularly if the new Star Wars project goes through.
The economy is no longer based upon the capitalism of supply and demand, but upon a buildup of military might. Your paycheck, under this system, is based upon the death of others. Feels good, huh? Though military spending by the Federal government went down in the Clinton era, it went up in the "private" sector. However, there is no private sector in this age of corporate welfare--most huge corporations are subsidized by the federal government. The military and corporate industry are united in a death machine.
Between 1990 and 1997, our country exported $7 billion worth surplus arms. We "discourage" other countries to build their arms so that we can supply them ourselves.
As the Cape Cod Times stated on November 14, 2000: "As of Sept. 30, 1997, according to the Federation of American Scientists Arms Sales Monitoring Project, 1,700 F-16s had been sold to 19 countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.
For more fun stuff, see New Feudalism.
By the way, this is also a Husker Du song.