Socialist Worker

Capitalism means money for war, not health

Issue No. 2752

The HMS queen Elizabeth under construction

The HMS queen Elizabeth under construction (Pic: Defence images)


People starve, there’s not enough cash for health or education, for action on climate chaos or to create jobs—but there’s always money for war.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic ripping through society, causing economic and health crises, total global military expenditure rose to almost $2 trillion (£1,428 billion) last year.

That’s an increase of 2.6 percent according to the analysis published this week published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

The pandemic has caused global production to decrease by 4.4 percent. Yet military spending saw the biggest year on year rise since 2009.

The United States, China, India, Russia and Britain were the five largest military spenders in 2020. Combined they account for 62 percent of global military spending.

The US maintains its spot as the top military purchaser. In 2020 its military spending reached £561 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent since 2019.

Sipri researcher Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, said, “We can say with some certainty that the pandemic did not have a significant impact on global military spending in 2020.”

Layers of the ruling class have been pushing the myth that “we’re all in it together” and that unity is the only way out of the pandemic. But increases in military spending debunks this myth.

Tories find cash for war
Tories find cash for war
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This report reveals capitalist priorities.

Infections

India only spends one percent of its GDP on health which has paved the way for over 300,000 daily new Covid-19 infections.

Yet the military is so vital to protect profits, that over the pandemic, it has increased military spending by £1.3 billion. In Britain Boris Johnson let Covid-19 rip through society resulting in almost 4.5 million infections and 130,000 deaths. The NHS has been pushed to the brink and many health workers receive poverty wages.

Yet Britain for the second year running is the fifth largest war spender, directing £42.5 billion to death and destruction. That’s an increase of 2.9 percent since before the pandemic.

Some of that budget has been spent on a new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, which has been deployed to the Indo-Pacific area.

It will ramp up warmongering.

The British carrier strike group includes Queen Elizabeth and 18 F-35B stealth fighters, two destroyers, two frigates and two support ships. It will sail through the disputed South China Sea on its way to East Asia.

Capitalism develops from competition between companies into violent imperialist rivalries.

The interests of large companies are intertwined with the state. In the name of national interest, the state will back these companies with military and political power.

And instead of cooperation, the crisis has seen ruling classes reach for more bombs, guns and missiles.


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