06-09-2009, 03:41 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Worldwide military spending on weapons hits record high
Quote:World arms expenditure totalled $1.464 trillion (£904 trillion) last year, a rise of 45 per cent from a decade ago and representing £135 for every person on the planet.
Compared with 2007, the figure rose by 4 per cent in real terms, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
"The introduction of the idea of 'the war on terrorism' has encouraged several countries to see their problems from a very militarised perspective, and is used to justify high military spending," said Sam Perlo-Freeman, the main author of SIPRI's report on military expenditure.
"At the same time, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost an extra 903 billion dollars in increased military spending for the United States alone."
The United States is, as expected, by far the world's biggest arms spender, according to the think tank.
It represented almost 42 per cent of the 2008 total, more than the 14 other top countries combined in what SIPRI described as a legacy from former president George W. Bush.
Since 1999, US defence spending has soared by 67 per cent in real terms to $607 billion (£375 billion) last year.
China, which like Russia has almost tripled its military expenditure in the past 10 years, was for the first time the world's second-biggest arms spender in 2008.
SIPRI estimated its spending accounted for six per cent of the global total.
That would put it ahead of France and Britain, which each accounted for 4.5 percent.
"China's increase has roughly paralleled its economic growth and is also linked to its major power aspirations," SIPRI said.
At the other end of the line, the 100 biggest weapons manufacturers registered total sales of $347 billion (£214 billion) in 2007, an increase of five percent in real terms from 2006, according to the most recent statistics compiled by SIPRI and presented in its annual yearbook.
That list is topped by US company Boeing, ahead of Britain's BAE Systems and US group Lockheed Martin.
Western companies dominate the ranking, with 44 of them from the US and 32 from Western Europe.
SIPRI said the companies that registered the sharpest increases were manufacturers of armoured tanks, in strong demand in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as companies that subcontract their services to militaries.
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