1960s >> 1964 >> no-715-march-1964

50 Years Ago: Waste of Armaments

The champion of the European Unity League (an international organisation existing in Piccadilly), one Sir Max Waechter, D.L, J.P., informs us through the daily Press that “the British Empire spends on her army and navy about £100,000,000 per year,” and that “approximately 500,000 white officers and men are kept under arms.” “If,” says Sir Max, “we estimate again that these could on an average earn about £100 a year, we find that the preservation of peace costs us about £150,000,000 annually ” “With this amount,” the gallant knight goes on, “we could rapidly abolish the slums, rebuild our towns, resettle the country, improve education, and could vastly increase the prosperity of the people.”


Very vague, that term. “the people.” If the working class is meant, our D.L etc. would find it somewhat difficult to persuade the masters who control this expenditure to spend it in the workers’ interest


“Wages are higher in America and Australia,” says our peace advocate, “partly because wealth is not drained away by the mad race for armaments.” But is the American or Australian worker the better off for the increased money wage? There are slums in the great cities of the United States, whilst unemployment and poverty are rampant in both countries. And if money wages are higher, so. too. is the cost of living.


[From the February 1913 issue of the Socialist Standard.]


[Armament expenditure is now in 1964 £1,766 million a year. Allowing for prices being five times as high as in 1913, the £150 million would now he equivalent to about £750 million a year. Expenditure is therefore more than twice as great. As a percentage of total national product it has risen from about 6 per cent. In 1913 to 7 per cent—Editorial Committee.]