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World Military and Social Expenditures by Ruth Sivard, 12th edition (1987-88)
 

Foreword by Jean Mayer

In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt defined a post-war world founded on four freedoms: freedom of speech and freedom of religion; freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Not quite five decades later, we are still far from fully realizing the four freedoms.

We have, however, achieved the scientific and technical knowledge as well as the international structures to eliminate want of life’s basic necessities. We do have the means now to realize the third freedom, the freedom from want- if we can summon the political will.

Since the 1940’s, there has been an explosion of research in health and agriculture, in information, communications and transportation technologies. The health sciences can now cure or prevent many of the common diseases, often at minimal cost. Numerous advances in agricultural research have made it possible to grow more than enough food to feed every person on earth. The revolution in communication and transportation now allows us to predict famines anywhere in the world, and to deliver food in record time.

The arms race stands between us and these achievements. The dedication of policies and resources to destructive ends condemns us all to the daily fear of escalating conflict that could destroy all life. The unlimited demand for arms condemns growing numbers of our children to hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and an early death.

Lives of all nations are warped by the arms race. The United States and the Soviet Union together spend about $1.5 billion a day on military defense. Yet the United States ranks eighteenth among all natons in infant mortality, the USSR forty-sixth. The developing countries spend almost four times as much on arms as on health care of their people. Yet hundreds of millions in those countries are hungry; 20 percent of their children die before their fifth birthday.

There is little hope of official agreements to end the insanity of this arms race until enough of the world’s citizens are given the facts and can act collectively to bring informed pressure to bear on their governments. There is no hope of achieving a better life for all until arms budgets are reduced and the funds and technologies redirected to peaceful and humane ends. Ruth Sivard’s yearly report serves these two vital purposes: it helps its readers to understand the technicalities and costs of the arms race, and it illustrates vividly the alternative uses for bloated military budgets.

Jean Mayer
President, Tufts University

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