Armament shares booming: 500 per cent profit in ten years!
mw. As commonly known one can earn a lot of money with the production of weapons. In times of negative returns on saving accounts and government bonds, the business journals announce that you can reap rich profits with stocks of the defence companies. Making money through death and destruction in warring countries? If you just imagine this as a “plain” citizen and fellow human being, it will make you freeze. But let us have a look, let us take a look at the sums that some corporations and their shareholders are making with wars all over the world. Then the thoughts will arrange themselves.
Total world military expenditure rose to $1800 billion in 2018, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute Sipri 1,800,000,000,000 dollars. The lion’s share of armament expenditure, over $ 700 billion, falls on the US; 750 billion are envisaged in 2020.1 The world-wide threatening fact of the omnipresent US military bases on land, the aircraft carrier on the water and the control of air-space and outer space is also the driver for the rearmament of Russia and China and many other states who have to defend themselves vigorously. The European NATO countries, in turn, are being pushed by the US government, the arms lobby and the media to increase their military budgets by constantly posting stories about the menace and aggressiveness of other major powers that could dethrone the sole superpower. At the same time, contrary to the wishes of many member states, the EU headquarters have long been planning to set up their own EU army.
“There were 16 wars and 173 violent conflicts in 2018 according to the “Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research”, and “the armaments sector has contributed 500 per cent profit over the past ten years” (Handelszeitung, 18 June) – that’s 50 per cent a year! However, the author confuses cause and effect when he writes: “The good performance has its reasons: The number of conflicts is constantly high.” As if people were voluntarily living in the terrible wars, sometimes for years and decades! As if the bomb production would meet the needs of humanity …
Then, further down the author calls a spade a spade: Three of the four largest arms companies are US companies. Led by Lockheed Martin, whose stock prices are at an “all-time high” since the company made 2,700 “F-35” stealth fighters for the Pentagon, for 400 billion dollars. Next Northrop Grumman, aerospace specialist, whose shares are also booming. Third is United Technologies (UTC), which, including recently acquired aircraft supplier Rockwell Collins, will make approximately 70 per cent of its anticipated aerospace sales. Then there is Boeing, actually the “largest aircraft manufacturer in the world”, whose stock price plunged after the crash of civil aircraft 737 Max – Boeing will be back on its feet again. The fourth in the league is the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, currently benefiting from the bad luck of its American competitor Boeing: Its share is also “at a high altitude” (Handelszeitung of 18 June).
If you put two and two together, you will see: because the three largest arms companies in the world are US companies, the US spends the most money on armaments by far and also urges all their “partners” to buy US military equipment, to feed the insatiable military industrial complex – according to the motto “America first”, which the voters of Donald Trump probably understood quite differently. Because the United States only have a few competitive industries in the domestic sector, apart from the defence industry, they protect them – contrary to the rules of the WTO, but according to “America first” – with high tariffs against the importation of all kinds of goods from China. And the successful European competitors such as VW, UBS or Bayer are swamped by them with billion-dollar lawsuits.
Concerning the many wars of the US, after all, the 2700 new stealth aircraft and anything else the Pentagon buys have to be deployed somewhere in the world so that replenishment is needed as soon as possible ...
Anyone who tries to ease himself partly by asserting that today’s wars take place far away from us must not forget two things: On the one hand, something can happen anywhere on our weapon-riddled globe, either by mistake or due to a heated situation, if someone chooses to press the wrong button. For example, in October 1962, it almost happened when the Soviet Union installed medium-range nuclear missiles in Cuba to prevent a feared US invasion. The former leaders, Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy, were prudent enough to prevent a nuclear war. But it can not be talked away that the risk remains always virulent, especially now when the US has definitively confirmed their termination of the INF disarmament treaty with Russia2 on 2 August, on the grounds that Russia has set up cruise missiles that are in violation of the treaty. Russia argued that this was the reaction to patriot missiles that the US have been installing in Eastern Europe for years. A dangerous situation – not only for the Eastern European countries, but for the whole of Europe and even for the whole world, including Switzerland, as the neighbouring Federal Republic is full of nuclear weapons (in the hands of the USA).
Secondly, wars in foreign countries cannot and should not leave us indifferent – simply because we are human beings. If we see the terrible images from war zones and hear the poignant reports of those affected, there is only one thing: Say no to war! In the sixties, young people in many countries protested against the Vietnam War, today they are demonstrating against climate change. Who has an interest in distracting our youth from protesting against the greatest and worst danger to humanity? •
1 All facts and figures here are from the article by Georg Pröbstl: “Volle Fahrt voraus auf Rüstungsaktien” (Full speed ahead with armament shares), in: Handelszeitung from 18 June
2 Intermediate Range Nuclear Force (Nuclear Medium Range Systems). 1987 Soviet-US Treaty on the Destruction of All Land-based Short and Medium Range Nuclear Missiles (500 to 5,500 kilometers)
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