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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dalhousie's war economy

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2008 at 2:38 PM

For better or worse, we're at war. And while you can argue over the merits of our glorious Afghanistan crusade, there's no debating that once we've gotten into war, a whole lot of military hardware has got to be acquired---the 17 C 130J Super Hercules aircraft that the government has agreed to buy for $1.4 billion from weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, for instance.

Because Lockheed Martin is an American firm, Canadian law requires it to pay for work valued at $242 million in Atlantic Canada before the weapons sale can become final. Clearly, the "Canadian content" side of the deal is accounting fiction---the price of the aircraft is increased to cover it, and therefore Lockheed Martin's "investment" is in reality a corporate public relations stunt underwritten by Canadian taxpayers.

And so now Dalhousie University is celebrating a $2 million contract with Lockheed Martin for "basic scientific research in the area of quantum computing, physics and material sciences under the contract," according to a university press release, and the company has first rights to any intellectual property that results.

Dalhousie has sold its soul to the devil, $242 million of taxpayer money is handed to a foreign company with no democratic oversight of how the money is spent and the fruits of publicly financed academic research go to the privatized profit of selling hi-tech weaponry, with no return to the university.

That's a hell of a deal.

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