The shape of the world arms trade


Source: Business Insider.


Source: Le Monde diplomatique.

The United States dominates the world arms trade, with Russia a distant second.   It is interesting to look at the two maps above, and draw correlations between arms exports and foreign influence.

Armaments manufacturing is important to the economies of both the USA and Russia, in terms of both employment and the balance of payments.   An industry report indicated that 1.2 million Americans were employed in the aerospace and defense industry at the start of 2016.

Peace would be bad for business.  In the event of large-scale disarmament, both countries would need plans for economic readjustment.   I don’t see any evidence of such planning here in the USA.  I think the executives of the big aerospace and defense corporations would strongly resist such planning.  They have a vested interest in the United States striving to be a global military power..

My impression of Russia and China is that the government dictates policy, and the industrial managers obey.  Here in the United States, corporate executives have their own ideas about policy, and sometimes dictate to the government.


Where the world buys its weapons by Jeremy Bender and Syke Gould for Business Insider.

Asia and the Middle East lead rise in arms imports; the United States and Russia remain largest arms exporters by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality – It Drives War by Rebecca Green for Foreign Policy in Focus.

Jobs in U.S. defense, aerospace sectors seen up 3.2 percent in 2016 by Andrea Shalal for Reuters.

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