Abigail R. Hall y Christopher J. Coyne, de la George Mason University, han escrito un paper sobre «The Political Economy of Drones«. utilizando un enfoque de public choice.

Unos cuantos datos y afirmaciones:

– «World governments spent more than $6.6 billion on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs, UAS), or “drone,” technology in 2012».

– «This number is expected to increase to $11.4 billion a year over the next decade for a worldwide UAV market worth more than $89 billion».

– «Present estimates place the number of drones in use by the U.S. government above 7,000, compared to fewer than fifty in 2000».

– Algo curioso: «the first attempt at creating an UAV occurred soon after the invention of the airplane in 1903. As early as 1913, the U.S. Navy provided funds for the development of a radio-controlled aircraft. By 1915, inventors Elmer Sperry and Peter Cooper Hewitt were working to develop a pilotless aerial torpedo—the first drone».

– «The war effort also expanded the demand for drones as evidenced by the number of UAV-related contracts the military granted to private firms during the war. The Army contracted with Radioplane Co. again in 1939 to manufacture what would become the OQ target drone series. The Navy would also contract the company for the technology and more than 15,000 of the drones were used to train American anti-aircraft gunners throughout the war».

– «The first Gulf War would prove a critical point in the development of the UAV industry. According to a May 1991 report from the Navy, “at least one UAV was airborne at all times during Desert Storm”. The conflict saw 522 separate drone launches and over 1,600 hours of flying time».

– «Top drone manufacturers have spent millions on lobbying expenditures
since the Global War on Terror began in 2001. For example, leading up to and in the year following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, General Atomics, the maker of the Reaper, Warrior, Avenger, and Predator drones significantly increased its lobbying expenditures. Between 2000
and 2002, General Atomics’ lobbying increased by a compound rate of over 49 percent per year. During the same period, Northrop Grumman increased their expenditures at a compound rate of nearly 27 percent per year».

– «Lobbying by the big players in the drone industry—Lockheed Martin, Northrop, Boeing, General Dynamics, and General Atomics—increased again over the 2008 election cycle. Between 2006 and 2008, the Big Players in the drone industry increased their lobbying at a compound rate of 17.41 percent per year compared to nine percent for total lobbying in the U.S».

– In 2012, for example, 72.8 percent of lobbyists employed by Lockheed had formerly held a government job. Similarly, 20 67.3 percent of Northrop lobbyists, 71.9 percent of those retained by General Dynamics, 76.5
percent of Boeing’s, and 72.2 percent of General Atomics’ lobbyists were former government employees (CRP 2013). This “revolving door” between government and lobbying firms lowered the cost of traversing the Congressional landscape to have maximum influence on key decision

El documento completo, de apenas 31 páginas, aquí (PDF).

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