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Scrutiny
  
Living with a flawed destiny
Investments in defence at the cost of social good are unpardonable
01/04/2010

Global annual military expenditure stood at around $1.46 trillion, as per a report in 2009. The top 15 countries with the highest military expenditure spent around 81.4% of the total. It is estimated that the world needs only about $260 billion annually for the next 10 years to eradicate all the basic malaise; be it poverty, insufficient healthcare, lack of shelter and clean water, illiteracy and sustainable energy. Given that kind of a comparison, there’s a clear paradox that countries are facing; are the investments towards defence supposed to only protect the ‘advantaged’ well earning masses?

US alone has spent over $5.5 trillion on nuclear arms till date, and has a current stock of over 10,000 nuclear weapons. US spends $35 billion a year on defence (or $96 million a day). Similarly, France has spent not less than $1.5 trillion on nuclear arms. USSR has spent $3.5 trillion on nuclear arms. Even as recently as the last decade, when countries were ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention, Albania, Libya, Russia, US and India have declared over 71,000 mt of chemical weapon stockpiles. The developing nations are no less in their over eager attempts to defend their borders. $32 billion is the 2010 investment for India in defence. Pakistan is $8 billion. China is $78 billion.

While it cannot be denied that a nation’s spending on defence technology is necessary due to various imperative and unavoidable reasons (mostly conflict with unreasonable neighbours), it is clear that if the same nation were to be equally committed towards eliminating poverty, the world could have surely been a better place. The funny part is, this is no Holmesian secret, and the nations involved know the discreet logic quite comprehensively. Then why don’t they simply eliminate poverty? Unpardonable...

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