Monday, March 29, 2010

who is really paying?

I recently came across these two maps of the world which pretty much demonstrate much of what’s wrong with the world (original source).
These maps try to show what the world would look like if maps were drawn based on something other than geographic mass.
As you can see, there is a complete disjunction between who pays for war and who gets to die for war.
Map: Military spending per country – 2002 (BEFORE the Iraq War!)
Military Spending
Surprise, surprise, the U.S. takes up approximately 45% of the world’s landmass with everyone else — by far and away comprised mostly of Europe – together making up the remainder.
But when we shift over to see who actually receives the crappy end of this equation, we see more or less the same countries who either are currently or have historically been the stomping grounds for U.S. and European imperialism and colonialism.
Map: Military deaths per country — 2002
Military deaths
So who gets to die?
Democratic Republic of Congo (the big dark red country on the map).
All countries the U.S. has long and bloody histories with. And, in the case of Ethiopia and Somalia, the U.S. is even now in the process of funding the Ethiopian slaughter of Somalis as you read this.
Now this may seem like an obvious phenomenon to you, but consider that before the ‘invention’ (if you can call it that) of highly mobile capital, in Ancient Greece, if a given city was under attack, it was the responsibility of the property-owners to defend the city and they would go out and be the ones on the front lines. Now, sure, they could pay some peasants to help them fight, but the fact of the matter is that either killing or dying in warfare was nevertheless married to being wealthy.
I wonder what happens when you completely divorce the unpleasant aspects of war from the ability to bankroll it as we have finally accomplished today?

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