Compared to nations around the world, the United States spends by far the most money to curb and contain global violence, according to a new report from The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The IEP defines “violence containment spending” as the economic activity that is related to the consequences or prevention of violence where the violence is directed against people or property.
In other words, America is effectively the world’s police. And U.S. taxpayers are paying for it.
Collectively, nations spend $9.46 trillion, nearly 11% of the Gross World Product, on violence containment each year. The U.S. devoted $US1,708,575 trillion, 10.5% of its GDP, which is about $US5,550 for every American.
The Economic Cost of Violence Containment report is based on calculations from152 countries with approximately 13 different types of violence factors.
American allies and Western powerhouse nations like United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and France all spend significantly less compared to the US.
- #60 UK
- # 88 Sweden
- #94 Germany
- #98 France
Together, the US, China and Russia, account for almost half of the world’s violence containment costs. In all three cases the majority of their costs were from were from military expenditures. The U.S. spent approximately 70% on military expenditures alone.
Within the report, the IEP asserts:
“… the expenditure on violence containment is fundamentally unproductive, and if redirected toward more productive pursuits, would improve government balance sheets, company profits and ultimately, the productivity and wellbeing of society.”
A 15% reduction in violence would result in $1.419 trillion in savings, according to the report.
Most of the countries found in the “highest expenditure” group on violence as a percentage of GDP are also some of the poorest and most unstable — the U.S. is grouped with countries like Sudan, Central African Republic, and Somalia.
Here are the top 20 countries with the highest violence containment cost as a percentage of their GDP (and here is the full study):
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