New Internationalist

The Facts

March 1983

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MAKING PEACE [image, unknown] Understanding war

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Since 1960 at least 10,700,000 people have died in 65 wars fought on the territory
of 49 countries - a rate of 1,330 war dead every day for the past 22 years.

History’s most costly arms race is making the world poorer, not safer. Here are some examples of the resources used by the war machine:

[image, unknown] MONEY[image, unknown]

Global military spending, now running atwell over $1 million per minute, topped the $600 billion mark in 1981 - equivalent to $110 for every man, woman and child on earth. (By comparison, only 6 cents per capita were spent on international peace- keeping efforts.) Worldwide military expenditure averages $19,300 per soldier - compared with public education expenditure of $380 per school-age child.

Developing countries have more than trebled theirshare of global military spending during the past two decades.

Source: Sivard, World Military and Social Expenditure 1982

Distribution of World Military Expenditure 1960 and 1980
*Other developed countries incude China, Japan. Israel and South Africa
Source: Sanger, Sate and Sound, 1982

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[image, unknown] PEOPLE[image, unknown]

• 500,000 scientists researching military projects

• 5 million civilians working in industrial jobs indirectly supported by military expenditure

• 5 million civilians civilians producing weapons and other military equipment

• 4 million civilians working in government defence departments

• 10 million people in para-military forces (police, frontier guards etc)

• 26 million people enlisted in regular armed forces

This adds up to: 49.5 million people engaged in military activities worldwide.

Source: UN, Disarmament and Development, 1982

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[image, unknown] RAW MATERIALS [image, unknown]

The military machine consumes large slices of the worlds raw materials:

• 5-6 per cent of oil consumption

• 6-7 per cent of aluminium nickel and zinc

• 11 per cent of copper

Military consumption of aluminium, copper, nickel and platinum is greater than the demand for those minerals for all purposes in the whole of Africa, Asia (including China) and Latin America.

Source: UN, Disarmament and Development, 1982

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[image, unknown] RESEARCH[image, unknown]

Military objectives are by far the single most important purpose of research and development One in everyfive scientists worldwide is engaged in militarywork In 1980 global expenditure on military

research was a staggering $35 billion - a quarter of the world total of$1 50 billion and more than the tote/amount spent on energy, health, pollution control and agriculture.

The average military product is 20 times as research-intensive as the average civil product Countries investing heavily in military research have lower rates of industrial growth than those concentrating on civil research.

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[image, unknown] TRADE[image, unknown]

The growth of military exports to Third World countries has far outstripped the growth of total world trade since 1970.

Third World countries now accountfortwo thirds of the international arms trade,which was worth $36 billion in 1981.

In the period 1979-81 the Soviet Union overtook the United States as the leading exporter of major weapons, but the US has more customers 67 countries compared with the Russians' 28. Other major arms exporters include France, Italy and the UK. Some Third World countries such as Brazil and Israel have also started exporting domestically-produced weapons.

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This feature was published in the March 1983 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 121

New Internationalist Magazine issue 121
Issue 121

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