Upward Spiral
Upward Spiral is a term used by Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy
Paul Michael Kennedy CBE, FBA , is a British historian at Yale University specialising in the history of international relations, economic power and grand strategy. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power struggles...

 in his book The Rise and Fall of Great Powers to describe the continually rising cost of military equipment relative to civilian manufactured goods. According to Kennedy there is an upward spiral at work in "all areas" of military production which is "becoming increasingly divergent from the commercial". The desire for state-of-the-art weaponry is meant to be pushing up the cost.


Writing in the late 1980s he said it was reasonable to assume that the next few decades would witness "the spiralling cost of the arms race, which is fuelled by the sheer expensiveness of newer weapons systems as well as by international rivalries." Quoting the comment of Peter Mathias
Peter Mathias
Peter Mathias is a British economic historian. He attended Colston's School and Bristol Grammar School where he became interested in history. In December 1945, he applied for a scholarship at King's College, Cambridge; instead he won an Exhibition at Jesus College, Cambridge during Summer 1946...

 that "One of the few constancies in history... is that the scale of commitment on military spending has always risen" Kennedy argues that this has become more important with time. According to Kennedy, "if that was true for the wars and arms races of the eighteenth century, when weapons technology changed only slowly, it is much truer of the present century [20th], when each new generation of aircraft, warships and tanks is vastly more expensive than preceding ones, even when allowance is made for inflation." Kennedy uses several examples. While a pre-1914 battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 cost the British admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 2.5 million pounds, by the 1980s 120 million pounds was needed to buy a replacement frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

. Another is that of the American B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber
B-2 Spirit
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is an American heavy bomber with low observable stealth technology designed to penetrate dense anti-aircraft defenses and deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty -class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen ...

whose cost rose into the 1990s.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.