Hi all, I’m back for a new year and a new blog. This year, besides working to become more regular with my posts, I’ve taken the decision to explore alternate ideas we can ponder together. My goal is to have us explore ideas that are rarely or never shared, ideas that should be explored for us to grow as a species and also as individuals. With that said, let’s get started.
I will begin by giving you a number. In 2021, $2113 billion dollars (1) were spent in the military around the world. Let that sink in, 2113 BILLION dollars. I already hear people arguing that armies are necessary because of all the hate and anger brewing in the world. That military actions can promote peace in certain specific situations. I’ve often heard that “humans have always been fighting, that’s just how it is”. That going into the military is a good way to learn valuable life skills. That military research has given us many useful and fun things in the real world (Velcro and M&Ms being just a few). I’ll stop here, because I could make a whole blog on reasons to keep military spending where it is. I’m not here to contest or counter-argue any of those affirmations. My goal today is for anyone who reads this to just let the idea of a world without military spending seep into your mind.
Let’s start with the number quoted above – 2113 billion dollars. Since military forces are often used to help when disaster hits – i.e. tornadoes, floods, etc. – let’s take part of that amount to train and equip teams that would be dedicated to that one task, say 300 Billion. Their training could be entirely focused on safety and rescue, making them far more efficient in rescue missions and possibly even saving more lives. Although we have spent a large chunk on this, we still have 1613 billion dollars left over. With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to research and development. If we take the top five countries in military R&D(2), on average, 20.8% of the budget is used for research. Using the numbers above, that amounts to 322.6 billion dollars. And we still have 1290.4 billion left over.
Here I have to ask you to take a moment and imagine what we could find if we invested 322.6 billion dollars in research that is focused on building rather than destroying. It boggles the mind a little, but worth the effort.
I don’t even know where to start with the remaining money we have, but I do like the idea of imagining a world devoid of any weapons designed exclusively for destruction. A world where young men and women could grow up without being forced to choose between poverty or military service. A world where problems (political or other) would need to be settled through discussion and cooperation. And the reason I’m writing about it is that no matter how hard I look for it, I never see that idea as a possibility. This post isn’t a call to action to make this so for the coming year, that would be an impossible and fruitless endeavor. This is a seed I am planting in the Collective Unconscious in hopes it will grow over time to include more and more people, until it becomes a mainstream idea that can then grow into a real possibility.
To finish, and maybe help you find your own ideas on what we could do with the money, I feel it’s important to point out that whenever someone says a social program or community investment is pointless because we don’t have enough money, it’s just not true. The money is there, it’s being spent elsewhere. It’s up to us to find the avenues that could make this work.
That’s it for today, hope to see you soon with more topics that will push us to look at tomorrow’s world with fresh eyes.
1 Number taken from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2022/world-military-expenditure-passes-2-trillion-first-time
2 Numbers taken from Nation Master Statistical database. https://www.nationmaster.com/nmx/ranking/defence-budget-on-rd