President Dwight D Eisenhower’s justly famous quote has never been more appropriate. The truth of his words are reflected in the SIPRI’s 2013 report. For those who might not remember, Eisenhower said:
Here is a brief summary of how our rampant militarism is contributing to global poverty and hunger. Imagine the difference even a small portion of these resources could make in ending the suffering of millions of our hungry family.
This summary is from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s Year Book 2013 summary on military expenditure:
- World military expenditure in 2012 is estimated to have reached $1.756 trillion;
- This is a 0.4 per cent decrease in real terms than in 2011 — the first fall since 1998;
- The total is still higher than in any year between the end of World War II and 2010;
- This corresponds to 2.5 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $249 for each person in the world;
The USA with its massive spending budget, has long been the principal determinant of the current world trend, often accounting for close to half of all the world’s military expenditure. The effects of global financial crisis and the post-Iraq/Afghanistan military operations have seen a decline in its spending, now accounting for 39% of spending in 2012.
SIPRI has commented in the past on the increasing concentration of military expenditure, i.e. that a small number of countries spend the largest sums. This trend carries on into 2012 spending. For example,
- The 15 countries with the highest spending account for over 81% of the total;
- The USA is responsible for 39 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (9.5% of world share), Russia (5.2%), UK (3.5%) and Japan (3.4%)
Military spending is concentrated in North America, Europe, and increasingly, Asia: