Socialist Worker

A trillion dollars spent on arms

Issue No. 1956

As G8 leaders argue about the measly aid budget to the Third World, the money spent globally on weapons has reached more than $1,000 billion a year.

According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, countries around the world have spent $162 on weapons for each person alive. The US alone spends 47 percent of this total — partly due to the war on Iraq.

A separate report from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade was also released this week. It looked at the links between the ministry of defence and the arms trade.

It shows how a “revolving door” operates between the two, with staff moving from one employer to the other.

Between 1999 and June 2004, 614 officers within the armed forces received approval to take up jobs in the military industry. But more shocking is the interchange at the highest levels.

Former defence secretaries including Michael Portillo, George Younger and George Robertson have all taken up high level high paying jobs with major arms manufacturers.

The report also highlights the amount of subsidies given to British arms manufacturers.

Defence is the only industry in Britain where research and development by private companies gets direct public funding from the government.

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Sat 18 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1956
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