Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is US Military Spending Excessive?

Depends on how you look at it.

Based on the chart above it seems to be. The US has just 5% of the world's population but accounts for 45% of global spending on defense.

And then you look at the chart to the left and notice that from a historical point of view, military spending as a percentage of GDP is not that high at all. It is lower now than it was at any time since WWI except during the 20s, 30s and the late 90s.

via The Economist

4 comments:

Brian C. Setzler said...

Why is military spending per GDP particularly relevant?

Spending more than the rest of the world combined is too much, regardless of how that relates to our GDP.

Fat Knowledge said...

Brian,

% of GDP tells you what % of the economy goes towards the military or what % of an average worker's income goes to the military. This shows that the % of income that the average American spent on the military has been going down for the last few decades. While the total military force is large in the world, the fraction of spending that Americans have had to pay for it is going down.

I think this is a relevant way to look at military spending, although I would like to see military spending decrease.

Anonymous said...

We should be back to the spending levels we had between WW1 and WW2. We're still several times that ammount, even if you look at the deceptive %GDP figure. There is no point to spending more than the next 10 countries combined.

Anonymous said...

The United States was forced to take on the role of a global enforcer as a result of the cold war. Perhaps America does spend to much on the military. However, the U.S. ensures that her allies do not need to spend mass amounts of money on their militaries. Thus, the situation is one where One superpower is able to act as a broker for peace and stabiltiy in many regions of the world. With one country holding such overwhelming dominance, many others are forced to abide by peaceful means. Whether this is right or wrong it does make for a more peaceful world.

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