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Recession? Not for the arms industry

In March, Travis Sharp noted for FP that “governments around the world are throwing billions into the one sector of their economies that will probably do the least good for the world: their military-industrial complexes.” Today’s announcement from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) confirms the trend:  Global military spending reached a record $1,464 ...

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AMMAN, JORDAN- APRIL 02: Exhibitors display their automatic guns at the U.S. Pavilion on the 2nd day of the Special Operations Forces exhibition (SOFEX) near Amman, Jordan on April 02, 2008. SOFEX 2008 is gearing up to be the largest Special Operations and Homeland Security Exhibition and Conference to date in the Middle East and North Africa Region, welcoming a record number of 10,000 visitors including the largest number of international defense manufacturers the event has ever seen in its 13 year history, with over 300 exhibitors from 60 countries in addition to more than 700 official military and governmental representatives from 55 countries. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images)

In March, Travis Sharp noted for FP that “governments around the world are throwing billions into the one sector of their economies that will probably do the least good for the world: their military-industrial complexes.” Today’s announcement from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) confirms the trend: 

Global military spending reached a record $1,464 billion last year with the United States taking up by far the biggest share of the total, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

Arms shipments were up 4 percent worldwide from 2007 and 45 percent higher than in 1999, the think tank said in its annual study of the global arms trade.

“The idea of the ‘war on terror’ has encouraged many countries to see their problems through a highly militarised lens, using this to justify high military spending,” Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Military Expenditure Project at the think tank said in a statement[…]

The United States accounted for 58 percent of the worldwide increase between 1999 and 2008. China and Russia both nearly tripled their military spending over the decade, SIPRI said.

Other countries such as India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Algeria and Britain also contributed substantially to the total increase.

The institute, which conducts independent research on international security, armaments and disarmament, said last year’s military spending comprised about 2.4 percent of global gross domestic product, corresponding to $217 per capita.

And if that weren’t enough to worry people:

Last year there were around 8,400 operational nuclear warheads in the world, according to SIPRI estimates. Of them, almost 2,000 were kept on high alert and capable of being launched within minutes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to compile my apocalypse survival kit.

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images

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