Let’s be smarter about spending

Posted on Posted in Economy
A friend posted this graphic on Facebook saying 8 days of military spending could pay for a quality education for 12 years for every child on the planet, a If-The-Whole-World-Stopped-Spending-Money-On-The-Military-For-Just-8-Daysdude tried to refute this in the comments, which made me do maths – my head hurts now, but here’s what I found out:
Global annual military spending is at about $1776 billion, (and yeah the US spends $809 billion – which compared to other countries is a ridiculous amount).
When the numbers are all added up UNESCO estimates that what’s needed in aid to provide education for everyone is about $22billion – about 4,5 days worth of global military spending – meaning that the graphic overshoots as it aims for a whopping 12 years of *quality* education. – these numbers do however seem to be what the graphic refers to.
On the other hand let’s assume that roughly 1billion people are of school age, if all the military spending goes into education that leaves $1776 per student per year from military spending alone. In addition there’s the already existing funding for education which we’ll assume remains intact. (this adds up to roughly $3000 billion – I’ll get back to that later)
It’s difficult to find global numbers on spending on education (should look further into that – seems people are obsessed with %of public spending rather than numbers in $), but some indications are the two extremes, the US, which already spends a whopping $950.8billion pr year on education, which again is a fairly ridiculous amount, and sub-saharan Africa which spends about $54billion annually (not great, but massive historic improvement, they’re getting there!). – add in Asia, Europe, Oceania the rest of the americas and the MENA region and we might get somewhere. So let’s assume total spending on education at least matches the $1776 billions spent on military (this massively undershoots, in reality it’s closer to $3000 billion, it seems most countries spend way more on education than on the military – good decision, go countries!).
So that means we assume there’s $3552 available for each student if we add together current education funding and military spending. If we estimate an average global teachers wage to annually be about $20k (which is very high a lot of places) that means we need a bit less than 6 students per teacher. In addition buildings and materials and stuff is probably needed, so let’s make that 10 students per teacher per year, which is a very small class – this still seems very doable to me…
If we however go by the more realistic number of $3000 billions for education globally we could allocate $4776 per student, bringing it down to about 4 students per teacher with an average wage of $20k per year, meaning we could pay our teachers better, which we really should – and/or have more teachers per students which we also really should, altho 10students per teacher is a pretty decent number….
In addition to direct spending on military there’s also the spending on reconstruction and generally tidying up the mess of destruction of war, caused by the militaries, the general impact war has on trade, on health services, veterans affairs and so on…if we stopped funding militaries all of this’d go way, way down and the money could be spent on more constructive things.
So in essence – we’re wasting a shitload on war, let’s quit funding militaries and give kids an awesome education instead!

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