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World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard, 3rd edition (1977)
 

Foreword by Robert S. McNamara

No government can escape the responsibility of providing an appropriate and reasonable level of defense for its society. In an imperfect world that is necessary. But what is just as necessary is to understand that the concept of security encompasses more than simply military force, and that a society can reach a point at which additional military expenditure no longer provides additional security.

Indeed, to the extent that such expenditure severely reduces the resources available for other essential sectors and social services- and fuels a futile and reactive arms race- excessive military spending can erode security rather than enhance it.

Many societies today are facing that situation. Certainly the world as a whole is. And any sensible way out of the problem must begin with the realization of the dangers and disproportionate costs that extravagant military spending imposes on human welfare and social progress.

That is why this compilation by Ruth Leger Sivard is so instructive and valuable. It brings together in graphic and compelling terms the underlying data that demonstrate the distorted priorities that excessive military expenditures can impose on societies.

This publication, now in its third updating, merits the thoughtful consideration of the concerned public, and policymakers alike, in countries around the world. I very much hope that the series will continue, and that it will command the broad support and readership it manifestly deserves.

Robert S. McNamara
United States Secretary of Defense
President of the World Bank

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