Analagous to Zygmunt Bauman’s take in “Work, Consumerism and the New Poor”
For a wider perspective on this, one could do worse than read Alfred de Vigny’s meditation The Warrior’s Life. First published in 1835, it is a classic of early French romanticism that asks a very modern question: what price an army that has outlived its usefulness?
During the two world wars, military service resulted in the percentage of the population in uniform in the UK and the US approaching an extraordinary 10 per cent. This kind of warfare accustomed entire societies to new egalitarian norms and demonstrated the indispensability of the state itself as mediator in industrial relations, and as economic strategist and planner. The lessons were learnt and applied after the war as well, underpinning much of the west’s managed capitalism in the years of the post-1945 economic boom.
Of these lessons, almost nothing remains. The smaller, leaner, more capital-intensive military of the past few decades has contributed to the more timid states of the age of globalisation.