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Question: Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse? CPNN article: Book Review of The Real Wealth of Nations
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Book Review of The Real Wealth of Nations
World military spending falls, but China, Russia’s spending rises, says SIPRI
Journée Mondiale d'Action sur les Dépenses Militaire
Día Mundial de Acción Contra el Gasto Militar
Global Day of Action on Military Spending
IPB online course: Disarmament for Development
Move the Money! The Global Campaign on Military Spending
Industria mundial de armas: occidente continúa dominando a pesar de la reducción; las ventas aumentan en el resto del mundo, según SIPRI
Industrie d’armement mondiale : l’Occident toujours dominant malgré une diminution ; les ventes flambent dans le reste du monde, selon le SIPRI
Global arms industry: West still dominant despite decline; sales surge in rest of the world, says SIPRI

For more recent articles on this topic, click here.
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: June 04 2011,08:08

Here is a very simple and clear example of how military spending is linked to economic decline (in this case, economic decline linked to over-dependence on oil). The following discussion comes from online comments by readers to an article by Brian Wingfield, Bloomberg about the use of solar panels to generate electricity.

"# portiz 2011-06-02 08:42
Once you include the subsidies* given to fossil fuel providers, solar is ALREADY cheaper!

*The subsidies give to fossil fuel providers include multiple dumbass wars for oil, drilling/mining on federal lands, environmental damage (think climate change, oil spills, mountain top removal, drinking water contamination, etc.), etc.

# Jackie Morris 2011-06-02 09:45
You've got that one right portiz.

# jlohman 2011-06-02 10:34
That politicians are stupidly spending money on wars is not a subsidy to an unrelated industry. But they are indeed stupid wars. I just wish our politicians would quit taking campaign bribes from the companies on both sides of the issue and decide what is best for the country.

See http://moneyedpoliticians.net/2009....-change

# Jim Rocket 2011-06-02 13:37
Oil and gas figure heavily in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Energy companies do not pay directly for soldiers and weaponry that benefit their bottom lines. Uh, ok, that last bit is changing...right, Mr. Prince?

# LeeBlack 2011-06-02 15:37
I agree, Jim Rocket. Gulf 1, Iraq, Afghanistan (including the Russian years) were over oil. Clean, renewal energy will also benefit, a la Portiz, in lower medical costs.
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jhon foundation
Posted: July 05 2011,13:10

We do appreciate that every nation has a right to defend itself from internal and external aggression. The security of a nation is the prerequisite of economic and social development. It is, therefore, cardinal for any government to spend part of the resources on defence and security. The resources to be spent should not override the expenses on social issues. When the government feels that the security of the nation is threatened, the national budget allocation for defence and security takes a bigger share from the total expenditure. When the foregoing happens, other areas of social and economic development get affected. In a situation where the nation is experiencing a civil or international war, the economic and social development is adversely affected because the government diverts the resources to the purchase of military equipment and recruitment of more personnel. The provision of basic needs for the nation like education, health and infrastructure are minimised, thereby making life difficult for the citizens and corporate bodies.
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Posted: April 19 2013,17:04

I think it was Marx who said that military spending is like throwing money into the sea, since it does not produce anything of value for people.

We could saw this previously in the case of the Soviet Union that was driven into bankruptcy by the arms race, which was a deliberate and successful strategy of NATO.

But now, if we look clearly, we can see it is now the case for the United States which produces very little for export and imports enormously (especially from China), while it spends most of its wealth on arms production.  

Arms production is hidden in the official government budget of the United States.  First, the government adds in social security which does not come from taxes, but which is simply a form of saving by those who pay into the system.  Then it hides much of military spending in other budgets (for example nuclear production is hidden under energy).  And finally, it fails to mention that most of the enormous budget item of debt payment is actually the payment for previous wars and arms production.

According to the careful research of the War Resisters League (available at their website, almost half of the federal budget of the United States is for present and past military expenses.  This amounts to over 1.3 trillion dollars a year!
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