June 12, 2007
China's defense spending catching up to USA?
According to the report the USA remains by far the world's biggest war machine with well over half a trillion dollars in annual arms spending. China is actually listed at number four after the UK and France. According to the report the top five military-industrial complexes and their 2006 revenues were: the USA $529 billion (46% of the entire world's weapons spending); the UK $59 billion; France $53 billion; China $50 billion (not even 10% of USA spending); and Japan $44 billion.
The Scripps Howard piece uses the purchasing-power-parity (PPP) equivalent figure for China at $188 billion. But that is specious unless the news services also explains that measured by PPP China is the second largest economy in the world just behind the USA.
If we're going to parse the data, a more revealing measure, provided in the SIPRI report but completely unreported, is military spending on a per capita basis. The USA spends $1,756 for each of its (legal) citizens versus only $37 spent per person by China on its "war" machine.
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