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The 15 largest arms exporters per capita

from Jorge Buzaglo


It is interesting to see how the picture changes completely when we measure arms exports per capita for the 15 largest expporters (for the same year (2014), in million (1990) dollars):  1. Israel 96.9
2. Switzerland 42.2
3. Russia 40.9
4. Sweden 40.2
5. Netherlands 33.0
6. USA 31.7
7. France 29.7
8. United Kingdom 26.0
9. Spain 23.9
10. Ukraine 15.5
11. Germany 14.8
12. Italy 12.9
13. Canada 6.5
14. Turkey 3.5
15. China 0.8
Data from SIPRI and Wikipedia

  1. Tom Welsh
    January 12, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    There seems to be something very odd going on here. The population of the USA is 320 million plus, while the population of Russia is 145 million plus. In other words, the USA has more than twice the population of Russia. Now the raw figures for arms exports show that the USA exports more than 3.5 times the value of arms that Russia does. A factor of slightly over two cannot possibly cancel out a factor of 3.5. So, even per capita, it’s obvious that the USA still exports more arms by value than Russia.

  2. Tom Welsh
    January 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Not having the raw figures for the smaller nations such as Israel, this is what my spreadsheet tells me (population in millions):

    Value Pop Per capita
    Sweden 5500 10 550
    USA 36223 323 112
    Russia 10200 142 72
    France 4400 65 68
    Netherlands 900 17 53
    Spain 1200 47 26
    Italy 1300 61 21
    South Korea 1000 50 20
    Ukraine 800 45 18
    Germany 900 83 11
    China 2200 1394 2


    It should be noted that Russia, Ukraine, and China probably charge far less for a given capability. A Russian or Chinese tank or jet plane costs much less than a Western one of similar capability. On the other hand, Russia and China need to spend more on defence than they would wish to, because they are faced with massive threats from the USA and its NATO allies.

  3. Tom Welsh
    January 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Sorry about the lack of formatting! But I hope it is clear what my “table” is trying to say. At least there is one space between each two fields.

  4. Tom Welsh
    January 12, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Oh, and contrary to the article’s assertion, the final column value per capita of arms exports) is not in millions of dollars but in dollars. Thus Sweden exports $550 worth of arms per citizen, and so on.

  5. BC
    January 13, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Economics is politics. War is politics with other means. War is the business of empire. War is good business for imperialists.

    Therefore, economics is politics is the intellectual, amoral, sophistic rationalization for large-scale, state-sponsored- and -enforced utilization of violence to expand empire for the purpose of resource expropriation, exploitation of cheap/slave labor, and tolerance/encouragement of genocide and ecocide in the process for fun and profit.

  6. January 13, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Imagine there’s no war.

    Imagine ancient spice trails now turned to high speed rails,

    pipeline and utility corridors for the great inner continent.

    Beijing to Moscow and on down to legendary Terhan.

    We’ll be rock’n and a roll’n ’till the break of dawn.

    Then the US pirouettes to the pacific,

    Chines chess masters build a base near the Filipines.

    Ever body’s rock’n an roll’n in their ol’ blue jeans.

    China, Russia and Iran sign together in solidarity.

    Now your talking ’bout a we. The one’s with old spice trails

    that’r leading t’ward Greece and Italy.

    Genghis Kahn with tactical nukes.

    Rock’n in the US

    Rock’n in the US

    Rock’n in the USSR

  7. BC
    January 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Growth of global real GDP per capita and trade is done with capital, credit, and trade flows and GDP PPP having reached parity between the three major geographical trading blocs. That is to say, like the British Empire’s “globalization” before it, the Anglo-American militarist-imperial trade regime’s global expansion is over.

    But unlike the similar period during the late 19th century, there are more than 5 billion more human apes in deep population overshoot (see William Catton’s works, RIP) on a finite planet, with 7+ billion human apes and counting facing Peak Oil, resource depletion per capita, “Limits to Growth”, climate change, unprecedented indebtedness per capita and as a share of wages and GDP, and Gilded Age-like inequality.

    A toxic brew if there ever were one, compadres.

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