Judging from the global military budgetary priorities, it is clear that the world is more prepared to kill than they are to save lives. The drive to kill the enemy is stronger than urge to feed the starving friend. The insecurity and military conflicts around the world and the resources used to dispel and quell the conflicts show the paranoia that has robbed humankind of sanity. This is an evidence that the god of this world is working hard to destroy humankind.
Based on prices for 2012, the global military expenditure stood at over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditure. This corresponds to 2.5% of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $249 for each person in the world (1).
If we consider the disparity in defining ‘basic needs’ and the inequality of consumption of both the necessities and the luxuries, we see a well-off part of the world that cares little about equity. It is also confounding how destructive addictive behaviours take huge budgetary chunk, second only to the military expenditure.
Consider the following 1995 figures of expenditure (in US $ Billions): (2)
Type of Expenditure
In Europe & USA
In the World
Cigarettes in Europe
Alcoholic drinks in Europe
Narcotics drugs in the world
Military spending in the world
Pet foods in Europe and the USA
Now consider the priorities by comparing the above with the expenditures for the essentials below:
Water and sanitation
Reproductive health for all women
Basic health and nutrition
Think what the world would be like if there was no military violence; think of what will happen if people were not greedy enough to peddle drugs; think if the world was corruption free. Some of the so-called poor countries are not poor due to lack of resources but because of corruption and mismanagement.
I wish the United Nations Human Development Report also computed and juxtaposed the figures for wastage in terms of food thrown into dustbins. I wouldn’t be surprised if the figure ran into billions.
And before I finish this chapter, may I emphasize that what I was talking about here in terms of interdependence must not be mistaken for an unnecessary dependence. Idleness and waiting for handouts must not be encouraged. I believe that with good will and generosity coupled with integrity, the poor can be empowered to set off to own their fishing nets instead of being given fish once in a while. The good thing is that most of the poor people are not poor because they are lazy.
If we consider the global trends we have seen above, it is clear that we may not expect things to change any time soon for the better. National policies, based on political and administrative expediencies, must continue to dominate the trends. It is also important to note that the governments are secular and are not bound to follow the radical virtues of Christ. That leaves the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Christians. The question is, how do we, as believers, set the trend and influence global resource management?
In what he entitled Causes of Poverty, posted at Global Issues website, (3) Anup Shah maintained that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined. He further explained that less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
Reflections and Questions to Ponder1. What is the most important thing you have learnt from this chapter?2. Do you sometimes throw food?
a) What are your reasons for doing this?
b) Do you sometimes serve more food on your plate than you need?
c) In what ways can self-service become selfish service?3. The Egyptians could as well have asked the Children of Israel: ‘If you are a chosen people and blessed for that matter, why didn’t God provide for you in your own country instead of letting you come to our country because of famine?’
a) How can you explain such a paradox?
b) In what ways are we as a country and as individuals prone to turn people God has sent to us into slaves?4. I asked this question above. Let me bring it up again that we may ponder it a bit more: How do we, as believers, set the trend and influence global resource management as individuals and as congregations? Do we even make an attempt?5. In your observation, what is the cause of the problem of underdevelopment in some parts of the World? How can such regions be helped even if the rich governments don’t have a policy for it?