Let Them Eat Guns?

The recently released 2005 yearbook from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reviews armament, disarmament, and international security. At its release a spokesperson for the institute said, “Today’s world cannot be secure without security for all, yet the events of the past few years have done little to bring global solutions closer.”

World military expenditure exceeded $1 trillion in 2004. The United States accounted for 47 percent of this spending.

  • $238 billion. Appropriations for the “war on terror” for 2003–05, which exceeded the combined military spending of the entire developing world in 2004 ($214 billion).

  • $236 billion. The combined arms sales of the top 100 companies in 2003. The top five companies accounted for 44 percent of this total.

  • $2.5 billion per year: The external funding required by 47 countries with the lowest primary school completion rates in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

  • $2.4 billion per year: The cost to halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Source: “SIPRI Pocket Yearbook 2005” (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2005); “Achieving Education for All by 2015” (World Bank, 2002); “The Unbreakable Link” (Jubilee Research at the New Economics Foundation, 2002).

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