If there were true peace, there could’ve been lesser people starving to death each year


Peace! (Photo credit: aldrin_muya)

Death due to starvation is a very sensitive topic. All of us have read and heard about people dying due to starvation but we fail to do anything about it. This is probably due to the fact that it’s not us who are starving. Also, we can’t really do much about it considering the fact that food inflation has been climbing faster than any Sherpa who has climbed the Everest. So does this mean that we cannot do anything about this issue? We can put the parliament on fire if we want to but that’s not why I am writing this blog. You will be surprised to know that by the time you read this, 10 Indians would have already died of starvation.I am really the peace sort of a guy. I believe that peace is one thing that can turn something impossible into a possibility. It would have been so much more amazing to live in a world where the word “war” never existed in the dictionary. But the fact is that it does and such is life. Based on this premise I started to evaluate what changes our economy would have seen if there were true peace. By true peace I mean absolute peace.

If true peace existed the first thing that world happen is the complete omission of threat of war. This in itself is a really big thing precisely because if there were no threat of war there would have been no need to spend anything on defence. You might know that our country spends a lot on defense but you might certainly not know that this lot that is there in your mind is just an underestimation of the actual figures. I’ve got some stats from the ‘Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’ giving the exact expenditure on defence for the 2012 for several countries. Have a look at it below.

Expenditure on Defence

This year the whole world spent a massive US$ 1,562,300,000,000 on defence. Out of this India spent around US$ 112,000,000,000. This is just insane. We live in a world where we fear each other so much that instead of giving people something to eat we use the money to make nuclear weapons and feel good about it. According to a research, there are about 212,000,000 people who are malnourished in India. Out of these 2,500,000 die each year due to hunger. Imagine if we didn’t spend on defence at all we would have had a surplus of US$ 112 billion to help people live. Let me do the math for you. Distributing US$ 112 between the total malnourished people would mean each person could be given food worth US$1.5 every single day in a year. For a country like India where the poverty line benchmark stands at US$0.5/day the above figure is a huge sum.

Looking at the past trends we may never be able to achieve true peace in this world. Hence we can’t stop spending of defence either. So that means whatever hopes I have been giving above are as useless as the congress. But there is this one phenomenon which I wanted to highlight and if stopped can make things better. Expenditure on defence acts like a reverse price war. Once a country decides to spend a few million dollars more on defence other countries become suspicious and they too start spending more. This means that there is no scope of reduction in the expenditure on defense because every country is aiming towards the highest level of security due to the threat of war. One country buys a gun and every other country buys a gun too. Now everyone is equal hence one country buys another gun to take a lead and as a result every other country buys yet another gun. This is where a circle starts and sadly we are already a part of it. It’s a very weird sort of a behaviour considering that it’s the intelligent breed of humans who are acting this way. What we also know is that in today’s date if a war actually takes place, we have enough weapons to destroy the whole Earth. So why exactly do we even need more?

Defence Expenditure Cycle

I am leaving you with a thought. Think about it.

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10 thoughts on “If there were true peace, there could’ve been lesser people starving to death each year

  1. Saloni says:

    IMHO, people in India are less motivated to work. Even if there was peace arund us, you won’t expect food to walk around and feed everybody. People have to work for that.I understand that we spend on defense but a labor, running a rickshaw doesn’t know that. More than peace, I think corruption is what demotivates them. What say?

    • Hanish says:

      You are absolutely correct but that is not what I am trying to highlight here. The whole idea behind the blog was to realize how much we spend on defence and how will this figure keep on increasing inevitably in the coming years. On the contrary, if we were somehow able to stop this much of spending on defence, we could have kept a provision of daily meals to every malnourished person. This is just one possibility. You can probably do anything you wanted to with the kind of money that could be saved.
      What you are saying is based on a very micro scale. You see, no one would want to witness his/her family die of hunger just because he/she doesn’t wish to work. It’s the economic condition of the country due to which they have no jobs for themselves. Hence by saving up on the defence expenses we could use that money to either directly feed people or invest it in the country which will eventually create jobs for the same people.

  2. Balaji G S says:

    Expecting others to be like us is wrong. Spending money on defence is something which cannot be stopped considering we are such a big country. Its not the defence expenditure, as saloni said its the corruption that’s killing the people. Its also the duty of all of us to give something back to the society for its betterment.

    • Hanish says:

      Again, I am not saying that corruption is not killing the country. In fact I have written a few blogs where I have condemned corruption as far as I could. Also, you are correct in saying that we cannot stop spending on defence. This is because we are scared of lagging behind in the race of collecting nuclear weapons. I am just amazed by the fact that why can’t we stop or at least reduce the expenditure. We all have enough weapons to destroy the whole world so why do we need more? We can instead use the same resources in so many more productive ways. This is again just a loosely hanging idea but I clearly see the potential of it.

  3. mulledvine says:

    As long as humans have been around, there has been war. I think it’s unlikely that will ever change, so perhaps solutions to poverty need to be sought elsewhere?

    • Hanish says:

      That’s sad but true. What I don’t understand is that when we have enough nuclear supplies to destroy the whole world, why don’t we at least make an effort to reduce our expenditure on defense. There should to be an international protocol signed by all the countries to regulate the expenditure on the same. But then again if US couldn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol, I doubt if many other countries would actually sign up for something like this.

  4. renusethi says:

    well said…..If only it(absolute peace) was possible… 🙂

    • Hanish says:

      True that, Renu. True that. But I’ll still be optimistic. Probably one fine day there will be peace. That will be the day mankind will experience absolute happiness.

  5. Anirudh says:

    Game Theory 101 is enough to show you why countries spend so much on military and why that is not Pareto efficient. Reaching Pareto efficiency is a hard and long struggle and in the short-term against the interests of most countries. A rollback of defense spending cannot be done unilaterally by any country, it can be achieved only through multilateral efforts at reducing the total defense budget.

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