Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Peace Is Less Expensive Than War, Yet We Continue To Fund War

“The budget of the United States for defense is over $1T, for climate change and to save humanity it is $10b, this is shameful.” — President Evo Morales, Bolivia

$13.6 trillion was the cost of war in our world last year. And you and I paid a large share of it. The U.S paid 28.38% of that total. Is that really how we want our money spent? Why not spend more for peace?

The approved budget for UN Peacekeeping operations for the fiscal year 1 July 2015-30 June 2016 is about $8.27 billion [A/C.5/69/24 PDF Document]. * That's a far cry from the cost of war. I wonder what would happen if we spent even half as much on peacekeeping/peacemaking as on war. $6.8 trillion could make big changes in the world. Where should it go? How should it be spent?

A good place to begin is education.  Upgrade education in depressed areas of the U.S, including Native American Indian Reservations. A well-educated public is more likely to support efforts for peace and more likely to improve their economy. Support efforts to educate both girls and boys in third world countries. This improves all other efforts to develop their economy and health initiatives. Educating women increases the likelihood that education of all children will be carried forward. In many of these countries the men have been killed or wounded by war and the women are burdened with supporting their families. This is more possible when they are educated.

Along with improving education, we need to strengthen their infrastructure to make it possible for people to communicate and to travel more quickly and safely. This then makes it possible to establish health clinics that are accessible in areas where there are no medical facilities. And implementation of cell phone and internet capabilities bring the world to otherwise isolated areas. This is true of depressed areas of the U.S. and third world countries. These improvements also create jobs for otherwise unemployed people in these areas.

When people are economically stable, not fearful of the burden of poverty, they are better able to work toward peaceful relationships - as individuals, as countries. Violence erupts when people are feeling trapped, needy, oppressed. We see this when communities riot and where people rebel. Wouldn't our money be better spend addressing the causes of violence than on weapons and containment?

What do you see as opportunities to invest in peacemaking? How would you prefer our tax money be spent to prevent violence and war?


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