In the United States seeing a dentist or a doctor is only possible if one has health insurance. Around 46 million Americans cannot afford to pay for quality healthcare—and that is in the richest country of the world.
In less developed nations, a large proportion of people find it hard to access even the most basic resources to ensure a healthy and dignified life.
One in nine of the world’s population go hungry.
And the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis of poverty amid plenty, with the number of people facing acute hunger more than doubling.
There are now 240 million people requiring emergency humanitarian assistance, while over 34 million people are already on the brink of starvation.
Nevertheless, despite the cost of the pandemic, global military spending continued to reach record levels in 2020, rising almost 4 percent in real terms to US$1.83 trillion.
The United States spends two-fifths of the world’s total, more than the next ten countries combined, and still cannot afford to prevent 50 million of its own citizens suffering from food insecurity.
The United Kingdom is massively boosting its arms budget—the largest rise in almost 70 years, including a vast increase to its nuclear weapons stockpile—while cutting aid to the world’s poorest by 30 percent.
Meeting Goals 1 and 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals— ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’ and ‘Zero hunger’—would barely exceed 3 percent of global annual military spending, according to the UN’s Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
With the U.S. military budget of $750 billion in 2020, it could feed the world’s hungry and still spend twice as much on its military than China, writes peace activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.
The annual nuclear weapon budget worldwide is 1,000 percent—or 10 times—the combined budget of both the UN and the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to the Global Campaign on Military Spending.
Just 0.04 percent of global military spending would have funded the WHO’s initial Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, according to Tipping Point North South in its Transform Defence report.
It would cost only 0.7 percent of global military spending (an estimated $141.2 billion) to vaccinate all the world’s 7.8 billion inhabitants against Covid-19, according to figures from Oxfam International.