[OPE-L] Global scan: as peace breaks out, arms spending increases

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Jun 11 2007 - 13:02:24 EDT

The levels of both interstate and societal warfare declined dramatically
through the 1990s and this trend continues in the early 2000s, falling over
60% from their peak levels.

Recent trends in military expenditure

World military expenditure in 2006 is estimated at $1204 billion in current
prices. This represents an increase of 3.5 per cent in real terms since 2005
and of 37 per cent over the 10-year period since 1997. Average spending per
capita has increased from $173 in 2005 to $177 in 2006 at constant (2005)
prices and exchange rates and to $184 at current prices.

World military expenditure is extremely unevenly distributed. In 2006 the 15
countries with the highest spending accounted for 83 per cent of the total.
The USA is responsible for 46 per cent of the world total, distantly
followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4-5 per cent each.

A comparison of government spending priorities between samples of countries
in different per capita income groups shows that the lower the income group,
the higher the priority given to military spending in relation to social
spending. Over the 5-year period 1999-2003, the share of military
expenditure in GDP has been kept at a constant level in the high- and
middle-income country-samples, while it has decreased somewhat in the
low-income sample. At the same time social spending as a share of GDP has
increased in high- and low-income groups but remained relatively stable in
middle-income countries.

The rapid increase in the United States' military spending is to a large
extent due to continued costly military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Most of the increase resulted from supplementary allocations in addition to
the regular budget. Between September 2001 and June 2006, the US Government
provided a total of $432 billion in annual and supplemental appropriations
under the heading 'global war on terrorism'. This massive increase in US
military spending has been one of the factors contributing to the
deterioration of the US economy since 2001. In addition to its direct impact
of high military expenditure, there are also indirect and more long-term
effects. According to one study taking these factors into account, the
overall past and future costs until year 2016 to the USA for the war in Iraq
have been estimated to $2267 billion.

In 2006 China continued its steep increase in military expenditure, for the
first time surpassing that of Japan and hence replacing Japan as the country
in Asia with the highest level of military expenditure and as the fourth
biggest spender in the world. Amid intense discussions on the right level of
Japanese military spending, Japan decided, for the fifth consecutive year,
to reduce its military spending in 2006 while at the same time focusing its
military budget on missile defence.

From: http://www.sipri.org/contents/milap/milex/mex_trends.html

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