Actual advertisement from the back of Jane's Defense Weekly magazine

Paying people for War or paying people for Peace

Millions of people rely on direct and indirect military spending for their jobs. Because there is not a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI), Citizen's Dividend or Basic Income Guarantee, there is a huge ECONOMIC imperative to keep war going. This fact has yet to be addressed by peace organizations who do not advocate or promote GLI for peace (if you know of one please email us.). Instead of paying people for war, and paying for war WITH an on-going massive destruction of human and natural resources, instead, we could pay people for peace with a GLI which would allow us to save people, the planet and would create the opportunity for peace.

Some Facts:

440 Billion US Military Budget 2006

2.3 Million employed by the US Department of Defense in 2004

700,000 civilian employees of US Department of Defense in 2006

26,000 people employed just at The Pentagon

950 Billion in World Military Spending 2006 -- (1.04 Trillion in 2004)

US and Allies account for 2/3 of military spending on earth

7.8 Billion (US dollars) Canadian military spending (2005)

Approximately 100,000 people in Canada's Department of National Defense

18 countries in the world use child soldiers

There are over 35 major conflicts going on in the world today

If 440 Billion [US] creates 2.3 Million [US] employees, then 950 Billion would create approximately 5 million employed in the military world wide. However, that would mean all employed by the military in every country would have the same pay rate as those US military. It is likely that if you include all military personnel in the world taking into account lower rates of pay in most countries the real number of people employed by the military world wide would probably be closer to 100 million. But this too is likely a low estimate because it would not count those employed in indirect military industries or the arms industry (described below).

Employed indirectly by the Military: Large numbers of people are employed indirectly in military-related jobs such as: engineers and scientists, shipbuilding and aerospace. Military spending also uses much of the budgets of the [US] Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It consumes about 55% of the [US] federal government's discretionary expenditures. Roughly 75% of [US] federal research and development expenditure is devoted to military projects. Several hundred thousand more workers provide services to defense plants and their workforce. The top aerospace and defense corporations, consisting of 11 companies, employ 901,258 people. These corporations mostly rely on DoD contracts. Most of these companies are also among the top defense corporations in the whole world.
Source: US Military-Industrial Complex by Jennifer T. del Rosario-Malonzo, IBON Research Department

There is an estimated US budget of 30-40 Billion for intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI and others) but the budget is classified.

Arms Trade

90,000 people employed in direct and indirect jobs in the arms trade in the U.K. in 2002

The number of people employed in the armaments industry had reached an estimated 131,750, some 8.3% of the total employed in South Africa’s manufacturing sector.(2003)

1135 companies based in more than 98 different countries are manufacturing small arms as well as their various components and ammunition.

There are 513,069 people employed worldwide in 29 companies with 80% or more of their production in arms manufacturing. (This does not count employees at 4 companies which did not list any employment data, or the 67 companies listed who had 1-79% production in arms, nor does it count arms manufacturing in China) Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Appendix 9a of 100 top arms-producing companies from 2004.

What is Military Keynesianism?

* Increased military demand for goods and services generated directly by government spending.This direct spending induces a multiplier effect of general consumer spending.

* The maintenance of a standing army removes many workers, usually young males with less skills and education, from the civilian workforce... an employer of last resort ... jobs regardless of the state of the general economy.

* Because the military-industrial complex is a large employer and constitutes a significant fraction of aggregate demand , it is politically difficult for the government to reduce deficit spending. The end result of this, it is feared, is a cycle of constant war and continually high military spending.

* [Critics, say] these policies are no longer viable for developed countries because military strength is now built on high-technology professional armies.

Source: Wikipedia, Military Keynesianism

It is difficult to image how a basis for world peace can be discussed while vast numbers of people -- especially women and children -- are living and dying in poverty and while so much profit is to be made from waging war. What needs to be discussed by all peace activists, peace organizations, and World Peace Forums is how a Guaranteed Livable Income would take away the economic imperatives for war. We agree with the statement made by anti-poverty and human rights activist Cheri Honkala at the 1999 World Peace Conference: "We at the Kensington Welfare Rights Union are absolutely convinced that in order to really talk in terms of abolishing war, we must talk about abolishing poverty. They must go hand in hand."

Without a worldwide movement for a Guaranteed Livable Income it is inevitable that wars over resources will continue and will escalate on large and small scales.

Even with an 'automated' high tech war, the question then becomes, what happens to the millions of men and women who would lose their income from the military when their job is eliminated by technology? What do peace activists propose as a solution for the displaced people who then join the ranks of the jobless? How would society be affected by millions of former soldiers who are told they are no longer needed and are thrown onto the scrap heap with no livable income? In addition, even with a high tech war economy, there would still be a built-in disincentive for ending war given the number of people who 'make a living' from war in indirect ways.

Although workers are likely to experience short-term unemployment on losing their jobs, many are likely to find a new job albeit at a lower wage, whilst others will leave the workforce to study, retire or look after family. Only a few are likely to remain unemployed for any length of time. (Campaign against Arms Trade, 2002)

This is telling people employed in arms and military "don't worry" you might get a better job, or at least some kind of a job, or if you're one of the "few" unlucky, then no job, so just go die quietly or grovel for public (welfare) or private charity. That's sounds like an easy sell: hummm, status, respect and a "good" decently paid job, or give that up to risk an uncertain future which could include unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and especially being despised for being "unproductive" in a society that has made "hard work" a religion.

Similarly, Sir Samuel Brittan, the British economist states: 'Indeed, it is almost certainly easier for arms workers, many of whom have a wide range of valued skills, to find new jobs... Where will the new jobs come from to replace those lost in exporting weapons? Other jobs, on a much greater scale, arose to take the place of handloom weavers [and] drivers of horse-drawn carts. Source: excerpts from the book "No-Nonsense guide to The Arms Trade by Gideon Burrows, New Internationalist / Verso, 2002, paper.

Just tell people to give up their bad jobs on the belief that they will get better ones! Now there's a winning plan, especially if we also tell all the people working in industries that harm people's health or the environment to do the same thing. Everyone is going to find "Other Jobs."

The US "Jobs For All" Coaltion emphasize that military spending does not create as many jobs as spending on public services. They don't demand guaranteed livable income but guaranteed jobs: "real security requires jobs for all at living wages and an adequate safety net..." Also that "Anti-war trade union leaders have pointed out that military spending once created good jobs for organized labor, but today military contractors also send jobs overseas." What is being said here? If there were lots of good union jobs in the military industrial complex, then war would be okay?

In opposition to a universal guaranteed livable income in all counties, peace activists could argue for a full employment plan, but this would:
a) massively waste time, energy, people's lives and would increase the rate of destruction and degradation of the environment
b) continue the massive rip-off of women's unpaid labour in producing the next generation
c) it would be a call for work for work's sake, regardless of whether the work was necessary which cannot be justified in any logical way.

What strategy will the peace movement articulate: Guaranteed income? Perpetual pursuit of higher production and consumption in a fruitless and destructive attempt to create jobs for the over 6 billion people on the planet who need a living wage? Or just letting economically vulnerable people (predominantly women and children) die from poverty related problems?

A Guaranteed Livable Income could be a universal "just transition fund" to create an economy that is not based on economic growth system which counts military destruction as being economically productive because it adds to the GDP.

Without a worldwide movement for a Guaranteed Livable Income it is inevitable that wars over resources will continue, and will escalate, on every level, everywhere and in every way possible.

Next: The consumption "Solution"
Back: The Jobs Paradox

See also: Why World Peace and Other Good Things are Bad for the Economy