Esha Chanda,

Columnist (Our World)


Safety and security of its citizens — two factors of utmost importance for every nation in this world. Each ruling government has an obligation on its part to ensure that no harm falls on the threshold of their nation, which puts the citizens’ well-being at jeopardy. So it’s a given that economies, whether huge or small will spend a considerable amount of its monetary resources to safeguard them from any imminent threats. We run these economies, and since we are humans, we are vulnerable and our minds have been shaped to believe that there is a high risk of losing assets we possess.

Currently, there isn’t any nation that is in peril of war. Yet statistics show that there are numerous countries that are spending more amounts than required on military budgets. And therefore the question arises whether the expenditure is justified on their part or not?

We rank every country in this world based on certain parameters that have been set. Based on the defence system, political system and the economic conditions, along with soft powers (the ability of a country to attract others because of the X-factor that works to their advantage) that are allied to the above-mentioned factors, economies are put under scanner to determine their global stand in the market. So the stronger the defence and political system of a nation, the higher it goes on the ladder. So if you are already on the top, would you or would you not do everything in your power to ensure that you don’t lose your position? Military muscle and economic power is essential but this antediluvian notion of world leadership will not help anyone.

Most of them would argue that military systems do require additional funding. You would feel much better knowing that your brother serving the army is safe on the field because of the cutting-edge technology used by your country. On the other hand, when a country has already wiped out one of its major threats, it seems only rational that monetary resources are disseminated to other areas such as infrastructure, education and healthcare.

It’s a million dollar question and it’s difficult to take a firm stand on one side. Even today, Afghanistan seems to be a serious security problem for most of the nations. In such a scenario, it doesn’t seem appropriate to lower the funding because at the end of the day, safety is your priority. On the other hand, going back to what was said earlier, war situations seem to have calmed down. The U.S will also be bringing back its soldiers by 2014. Under such circumstances, why is it that there are no discussions on cutting down military budgets? It is a fact that the amount of money spent by the most powerful nation is more than the next 10 countries collectively. Here’s the bottom line — excessive expenditure on military budget or for that matter, in any area is an economic loss. It’s a complete waste of resources when the same could be used to enhance other areas and industries. Money for defence can be used for peace in a totally different context. Make this capital investment available for lesser-privileged countries. Funds can used for the betterment of nations that don’t have the right resources to augment their situations. Economic power is essential but getting a couple of square meals a day, providing improved education facilities are more imperative. Why not make underdeveloped countries a hub where advanced technology is introduced, where basic schooling can take place?

Perhaps the only day when military budgets would be reduced would be if nations stop fighting unnecessary wars. While it’s not on paper, there seems to be an unceasing cold war that has engulfed every country. Do we see an end to this? In the race to outdo each other by showcasing more power, probably in another decade, the amount spent on creating technologies and arms and ammunitions will only increase by ten-fold.

Image Courtesy:By E.J. Hersom [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Pen and paper are her priority; words, her currency. A person with many interests, Esha Chanda is the Managing Editor at The Global Panorama and a Columnist for Our World on the website. She is currently working for a publishing house in India, and when she is not busy rummaging through the pile of articles on her desk, you will find her writing on stirring issues that are shaping the society.