PSL: U.S. arms sales soar during capitalist economic downturn

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By: Sean Pavey

War profiteering is a criminal enterprise

According to a recently released Congressional Research Service report, the United States has firmly established itself as the home of the most successful military arms dealers in the world. While the worldwide capitalist economic crisis has led to a significant drop in profits in arms deals in other parts of the world, U.S. arms deals have risen by nearly $12.5 billion from 2007, increasing from $25.4 billion to $37.8 billion. According to the report, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2001-2008,” U.S. transfers represent over two-thirds of global armament sales, making the United States the world’s largest arms dealer.
U.S. arms sales far outpace Italy, the country second on the list, which had $13 billion in sales.

The congressional report explains that this rise in U.S. arms sales can be attributed to “the continuation of significant equipment and support services contracts with a broad-based number of U.S. clients globally.” Almost $30 billion of U.S. arms sales went to client states like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. Client states not only serve as markets for arm sales, they help to protect the interests of U.S. imperialism across the world.

The U.S. government spends more on war and weapons than the rest of the world combined. The official defense budget for the 2009 fiscal year is somewhere between $533 and $544 billion, accounting for 54 percent of U.S. federal spending. But this does not account for all of the United States’ military spending. In addition to the money allocated to the Department of Defense, $205.5 billion has been dedicated specially to the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. When those funds are added to the rest of the military budget, it adds up to $739.2 billion. This amount dwarfs the money the United States spends on health and education, which combines to make up roughly 11.5 percent of all federal spending.

The U.S. ruling class is not only in the business of making war on the world, it is also in the business of making great profits from war and repression in addition to the billions of dollars made from arms sales. War profiteering is a criminal enterprise.

9 thoughts on “PSL: U.S. arms sales soar during capitalist economic downturn

  1. paulie Post author

    Thanks again. Another chart showing a steep upward trend this decade, and it only shows signs of getting worse under Obama. If I’m reading the chart correctly, it looks like we are now spending a larger portion of GDP on military expenditures than at any time since WWII.

  2. paulie Post author

    Oops, I did not read that right. It’s the highest in constant dollars, but not the highest as percentage of GDP. Still, the trend is clearly upward.

  3. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home

    The other ‘interesting’ [pie] chart I have seen of late is the bomb shaped nation’s raw money invested in warfare. The USA was WAY AHEAD and more than double of any one else. The end of the Cold War may be the end of us. Remember, Soviet Russian spent it’s way to Glasnost and Perestroika!

    Don Lake, former military rocket scientist

  4. paulie Post author

    LOL. I don’t think this article is about self-defense weapons for individuals. We are talking about major weapons contracts here, typically involving governments.

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