Is Defence Spending Excessive?

Here you will find that Nato is expecting the UK to ‘lead’ by spending 2% of GDP on defence.

I recall the pyramids as being one percent of GDP at the time of construction. I also recall the moon landing as being one percent of GDP at that time. I remember these as it was then said that one percent was roughly what a culture could afford to put into a single project.

I did a trivial bit of research and found this estimate for building the pyramid today: about five billion dollars. So I asked myself, what was the population of Egypt recently and what was the average GDP per person? The answer is, $3,314.46 USD per person in 2013, and 82.06 million population, also in 2013. If you multiply those two numbers you get almost 272 Billion dollars of GDP. So five Billion is not a large percentage. Doubtless the methods of the past used less fossil energy and had higher overall costs.

My point: the American space program, and the pyramids, were probably of the order of one percent of the GDP of the state running the effort.

The pyramid project produced something – a pyramid. The moon shot produced some propaganda, velcro, and a lot of accidental science.

Defence spending (wonderful euphemism, that) produces bullets, rockets, bombs. Why is that worth twice the normal project of a civilization?

Yep, that’s the dumb question for this entry.

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