UN Development Goals Could Be Met With a Few Percent of Military Spending

UN Devel­op­ment Goals Could Be Met With a Few Per­cent of Mil­i­tary Spending

By davidswan­son - Orig­i­nally posted on 10 Decem­ber 2012, here.

Here’s a use­ful new report from the Inter­na­tional Peace Bureau.  Glob­ally, the report finds, spend­ing on war prepa­ra­tions is higher than ever as an absolute amount and as a per­cent­age of pub­lic spend­ing (if not as a per­cent­age of GDP).  This spend­ing is led and dom­i­nated by the United States, which of course pres­sures other nations to try to keep pace.  The United States also dom­i­nates the man­u­fac­ture and sale of weapons to other nations.

The fig­ures that the IPB uses admit­tedly leave out many types of mil­i­tary spend­ing.  In fact, they cap­ture less than 60% of U.S. mil­i­tary spend­ing.  So, the con­clu­sions are all extremely “con­ser­v­a­tive” — that is to say: dra­mat­i­cally wrong.  With­out know­ing how much of other nations’ war prepa­ra­tions spend­ing is miss­ing, one can­not do the cal­cu­la­tions cor­rectly.  Nonethe­less, IPB’s con­clu­sions are stun­ning and include these:

–the world’s mil­i­tary spend­ing is 12.7 times higher than its offi­cial devel­op­ment assis­tance, and

–604 times higher than UN bud­gets for peace, secu­rity, devel­op­ment, human rights, human­i­tar­ian affairs, and inter­na­tional law, and

–2,508 times higher than the com­bined expen­di­tures of the UN’s Inter­na­tional Dis­ar­ma­ment and Non-Proliferation Organizations.

–the war prepa­ra­tions spend­ing of the world is $249 per day per per­son on earth. [UPDATE: This can­not be correct.]

–about 5% of that would meet the UN’s Mil­le­nium Devel­op­ment Goals by 2015.

In other words, war spend­ing does not just gen­er­ate the well-known Mil­i­tary Indus­trial Complex’s pres­sure for more war, which takes more lives, but the fail­ure to use a lit­tle of that money for some­thing use­ful means the fail­ure to save and improve count­less lives as well.  Our bud­gets are at once sins of com­mis­sion and omis­sion.  The mil­le­nium goals are goals for end­ing poverty and hunger, pro­vid­ing edu­ca­tion, and pro­tect­ing health, sus­tain­abil­ity, and human rights.

There may not be a war on Christ­mas, but if our “lead­ers” have their way there will be sev­eral wars on Christ­mas, and we’re pay­ing for them in sev­eral senses of the word.

Peace on Earth. Pass the ammunition.