Iron triangle

The term you may also try is "cozy" triangle or cozy interests.

Clearly the classic example -- if not fully referred to as such -- is the old Nuclear Regulatory Commission (then named Atomic Energy Commission before Jimmy Carter's Presidency) and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (Congressional oversight) and the lobbyists for Westinghouse, General Electric, Bechtel, etc and those companies who had an interest in nuclear generated electricity.

Under the Eisenhower Administration AEC Commissioner, Louis Staws, was able to promote nuclear energy as an
electrical power source (energy too cheap to meter) and get the Price-Anderson Act passed limiting liability of Corporations who owned nuclear generating facilities.

There are countless examples of the "iron triangle." It may be attributed to Walter Lippman ( a journalist and writer in the 20s to 50s).

William Greider's Who Will Tell the People has lots of examples in it (pp. 60 -78 for example), but no footnote on it or even use of the terminology in the index, to my recollection.


Garrett Hardin refers to it as the "quis custodiet" problem of who oversees those to monitor the public good?

See his
Filters Against Folly or Living Within Limits.


Jeremy Legget in The Carbon Wars shows how pervasive it is in foreign policy (climate treaty implementation). But you may have to look at John Kenneth Galbraith's books for a good bibliography.

The late Joseph M. Petulla discussed it in his books on American Environmental Policy. But these are just examples of
how it works and not books dedictated to explorings its orginial use and application.


I learned about it years ago (1977-78) by a young Ph.D, Mike Lyons -- for whom I was a TA -- then at UCSB in the Politics department.


Technology index learn landscape index learn words index learn photograph index