Weapons Manufacture Modern Successor to the Slave Trade

Five rich countries manufacture the vast majority of the world's weapons. In 2005, Russia, the United States, France, Germany and the UK accounted for an estimated 82 per cent of the global arms market.

And it's big business: the amount rich countries spend on fighting HIV/Aids every year represents just 18 days' global spending on arms.

The world could eradicate poverty in a few generations were only a fraction of the expenditure on the war business to be spent on peace.

An average of $22bn is spent on arms by countries in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa every year, according to estimates for the US Congress. This sum would have enabled those countries to put every child in school and to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015, fulfilling two of the Millennium Development Goals.

---Desmond Tutu, writing in "The Independent"

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