Saturday, September 3, 2011

Worldwide military spending down, surprisingly

As Gregg Easterbrook describes in Sonic Boom, "Military spending is among the least desirable uses of social resources. The best-case outcome for most defense spending is that it is totally wasted - that is, military force is never used. Worst-case outcomes go downhill from there."

So what's the good news? He continues: "As most nations have begun spirited economic competition, they have reduced their competition in arms buildups. Stated in today's dollars, global military spending peaked in 1985 at $1.5 trillion, and by 2008 had fallen to $1.3 trillion. Owing to world population growth through the period, military spending has declined from $312 per capita in 1985 (in today's dollars) to $194 per capita in 2008."

Source: Sonic Boom, p. xv.

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