According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI, around 1917 billion US dollars were spent on military and armaments worldwide in 2019. That is 241 US dollars per head of the world population, 66 cents per day. By way of comparison, the United Nations World Food Programme raised 8 billion US dollars in the same year. With these funds, the organization supported 97 million people in 88 countries. Nevertheless, 690 million people worldwide are starving and two billion suffer from malnutrition.
About 3.1 million children under the age of 5 die of hunger every year, every 10 seconds a child starves to death. With 40 cents, the UN World Food Programme could feed one of these children for a whole day. This would cost 452.6 million US dollars per year. If we count more generously on an amount of 10 US dollars per day per child, this would cost 11.315 billion US dollars per year. This is 169 times less than the 1917 billion US dollars spent on armaments and the military worldwide. With 10 dollars a day, a child might even go to school and find medical help in an outpatient clinic if he or she gets sick.
Nuclear weapons instead of “Public Health”
According to the latest report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), nine states worldwide spent $ 72.9 billion on nuclear weapons in 2019. That is about $ 138,700 per minute and $ 7.1 billion more than in 2018. Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, criticizes: “It is absurd to spend $ 138,700 every minute on weapons that cause catastrophic human damage, instead of spending them to protect citizens’health. They (the governments) renounce their duty to protect their people.”
Great Britain wants to increase the number of its 180 nuclear warheads to 260 today. The UK’s spending on nuclear weapons in 2019 amounted to about 7.2 billion British pounds. In addition, investigations revealed that 43,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors are missing from the National Health Service. Spending one year on nuclear weapons could more than address these shortcomings: £ 7.2 billion could be used to fund 100,000 hospital beds for intensive care units, 30,000 ventilators and the salaries of 50,000 British nurses and 40,000 doctors.
France plans to spend a total of 37 billion euros on its nuclear arsenal between 2019 and 2025. In 2019, the figure was around 4.5 billion euros. These funds could be used in France to pay 100,000 hospital beds for intensive care units, 10,000 ventilators and the salaries of 20,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors.
Swiss banks invested almost 9 billion Swiss francs in the production of nuclear weapons in 2019
According to figures from Seco, Switzerland exported war material for 901.2 million Swiss francs last year. This is 24 percent more than in 2019. In addition to these arms exports, the Swiss National Bank, banks, insurance companies and pension funds of our country invested billions in arms companies. Research by ICAN shows that in 2019, Swiss financial institutions also invested $ 8.983 billion in companies that produce nuclear weapons. UBS, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and Credit Suisse are also boosting the nuclear arms race.
The financial institutions of Germany, a country with 84.3 million inhabitants, ranked in 2019 11,759 billion US-dollars ($141 per capita) in the nuclear weapons industry. In Switzerland it was 1046 dollars per capita. Only in the USA, investments in the nuclear weapons industry are higher than in Switzerland, at 1729 US dollars per capita.
ICAN writes: “The fact that Swiss banks are investing money in the further development of weapons of mass destruction is all the more astonishing because this is prohibited in Switzerland. Since the revision of the War Materials Act (KMG) of 1 January 2013, there has been a legal ban on financing prohibited weapons. This also includes nuclear weapons, which are covered by Art. 7 para. 1 lit. a KMG are listed”. However, the ban on financing nuclear weapons is practically ineffective because the CMM has loopholes in the law in this area, and Swiss financial institutions are actively using this loophole for investments. Not least because investors are hoping for a good return from their investments in the nuclear weapons industry.