What were the economic impacts of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that one of the most relevant impacts of the Cuban Missile Crisis was the continued growth of the military industrial complex.  Even though the Crisis was solved through back channel communication and adroit diplomacy, the reality is that the military industrial complex recognized that "hot spots" anywhere and everywhere in the world could lead to government spending on defense.  This has relevance economically because the complex is dependent on legislators awarding large defense contracts to companies who end up generating immense profit from the business of war. Some have been able to draw a line between the Cuban Missile Crisis and the military industrial complex's feeding frenzy in the Vietnam Conflict.  Seymour Melman argues that the Cuban Missile Crisis' economic impact was to directly intensify the growth of the military industrial complex's role in the Vietnam War.  The argument goes that while diplomacy averted a major crisis in Cuba, the military industrial complex understood that there would be times when diplomacy would not work.  In these settings, the economics of war would prove beneficial to companies who were directly a part of the structure.  In this, one can see how the economic impacts of the Cuban Missile Crisis might not be entirely evident on face value, but do show some relevancy in expanding the discussion to economic life after the crisis.