More than 50 Nobel laureates have signed an open letter calling for all countries to cut their military spending by 2% a year for the next five years, and put half the saved money in a UN fund to combat pandemics, the climate crisis, and extreme poverty.
“Individual governments are under pressure to increase military spending because others do so,” the signatories say in support of the newly launched Peace Dividend campaign.
“The feedback mechanism sustains a spiralling arms race – a colossal waste of resources that could be used far more wisely.”.
The high-profile group says the plan amounts to a “simple, concrete proposal for humankind”, although there is no realistic prospect that military spending cuts will be enacted by large or medium-sized governments, or that any sums saved would be handed over to the UN and its agencies.
Total military spending amounted to $1,981bn (£1,496bn) last year, an increase of 2.6% according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The five biggest spenders were the US ($778bn), China ($252bn), India ($72.9bn), Russia ($61.7bn) and the UK ($59.2bn) – all of whom increased their budgets in 2020.
Such a fund, they claim, could amount to $1tn by 2030. »