Thursday, 3 July, 2008

Guns and butter

A favourite comparison of pacifists like me the amounts governments spend on arms and armed forces and what they allocate to bettering lives, that is, education, health, R&D, the arts. 

The juxtaposition is unsporting.

Arms are far more inefficient than bread. It takes just a loaf to feed a famished man, a dozen or so bullets may not be enough to dispatch him, as long as he can run and hide. In fact, save the atom bomb and chemical weapons, all weapons are horribly wasteful.  

Besides, there is the demand-and-supply problem. Everyone wants to eat; very few want to kill. Arms-makers have to charge high prices to stay in business, what with bribes and commissions eating into their profits all the time.

I suggest a gun-to-bun (30 AK47 $ = 1 hunger $, etc) index make these comparisons more sensible.  

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