(First published December 2012)
You might imagine that the USA is the world’s biggest arms exporter and you would be correct, at least based on the simple dollar count. With around $8.5 billion in weapons sales (2010 figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) America beats out Russia’s approximately $6 billion to take the gold medal in the international merchant-of-death stakes. Bronze goes to that great exporting nation, Germany, which sells a bit over $2 billion worth of armaments annually.
However, we get the really interesting figures when we do some number crunching to see how a country’s arms sales stack up on a per capita basis. Then the USA falls to joint fourth on the table along with France and Germany (all with approximately $28,000 worth of arms exports per head). Russia manages third with a very respectable $42,000 per capita. In second place comes the world’s tiniest arsenal, Israel, which flogs an impressive $62,000 of weapons per Israeli per annum.
The arms-export-per-capita crown though goes to the land of ABBA. Each year, peace-loving Sweden exports a whopping $89,000 worth of arms per citizen, more than three times the ratio achieved by the Americans.
Mamma mia! That peace institute in Stockholm has got its work cut out.