On the Conscience:Taxes for Peace not War home page is a counter showing the global military spending so far this year. It comes from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) figures. We use those because they are not particularly controversial; they do not include lots of things a strict pacifist would like to see included. As I start writing this, the number is based on their 2016 figures and is £509,860,928,935.
Yes, global spending on militarisation (essentially, preparing for killing people), is five hundred thousand million pounds. A million pounds, spent, half a million times.
For comparison, nobody wants to spend the £11,000m to £23,000m it would take to cure the whole world’s 185m people with Hepatitis C. But we have spent £509,000m on arms so far this year.
(Hepatitis C treatment is the most expensive medicine in the USA, link. Details of the cost of curing it, link.)
Anyway, it is time for me to update the web site because military spending figures for 2017 have been released. And it has gone up by about 1.1%, once inflation has been taken out. As an absolute sum just the difference is about £47,287m. Military spending in 2017 represented 2.2% of the global gross domestic product.
(For reference, feeding the world’s starving people would cost £23,000m, £132,000m or somewhere in between.)
So, I have updated the script and now the number, based on the new 2017 figures, is £524,852,595,454 so far this year.