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"Bad ideas flourish because they are in the interest of powerful groups" -- Paul Krugman
Arms Trade is one way to prevent basic rights
The Arms Trade is a major cause of human rights abuses, with some governments spending more on the sale of arms than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined. As this transcript shows, the American tax payer pays about $7 Billion per year to subsidise arms sales which the arms contractors maintain as essential to foster good relations and also create more jobs at home (yet when it comes to funding new weapons development, the rationale for this is because so many countries have sophisticated weapons! Also, when a sale is made there are often other economic incentives, such as moving the manufacture of these and other weapons abroad, therefore not really creating jobs in the US.).
On military in general, the USA spends more than the rest of the G7 countries combined -- approximately $270 Billion, annually. In 1997 alone, half of USA's aid was related to military aid/trade -- and most of that was to countries that are already wealthy, like Israel, whereas very poor countries like Sub-Saharan African nations received very little...
The arms trade is the largest business in the world at 800 Billion dollars, annually.
The West sells a lot of these arms to military dictatorships, to many human rights violators or corrupt governments, often secretly and with training. These sales and training provisions therefore become tools to control and prevent any form of democracy as Noam Chomsky points out.
Some of the worst countries that sell these arms are USA and Britain, which do the largest and second largest amount of arms trade in the world, respectively -- in the name of democracy, of course!
Check out the following for trade-related issues: