Last summer there was a meeting in Scotland to discuss the role of science in society. The meeting was attended by the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, who listened carefully to the lectures and the numbers that were presented. The annual military spending of all powers, it was calculated, was about two trillion dollars a year. The figure, accompanied by the NATO recommendation that spending increase by 2% annually, alarmed some of those present, who decided to sign a letter to reverse this trend in a time of crisis. “This is not a call to say that there is […] an urgency. It is a concrete proposal to find the resources for the serious problems of the planet ”.
Rovelli then began promoting a letter to which 60 Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, joined, so that the trend is just the opposite. In the letter published on Monday by various international headlines and which is intended to be an appeal to the governments of each country, states are asked to reduce military spending by 2% annually. A budgetary movement that would generate a bag of about 40,000 million euros that could be used to combat the main scourges of this time. “Our proposal is that half go into a global fund to tackle three issues: global warming, the pandemic and extreme poverty. Ten people a minute are at risk of starvation, “says Rovelli in a telephone conversation.
The initiative, which recalls that military spending has doubled in the world since the beginning of this century, has not yet been presented at the institutional level. But early Monday morning a website was activated where the project is explained and the details of the plan to be proposed are given. “Governments are under pressure to increase military spending because the rest of the countries do it. The spending spiral is a colossal waste of resources that could be used more intelligently. The races to increase the arms of the countries have always ended in the same way: deadly and destructive conflicts ”, reads the statement issued.
Rovelli is optimistic that the initiative will be taken up by the States. But seen in perspective, it does not deny a certain skepticism. “We all agree that things have to be done, but there is always a lack of resources. Everybody always says that the others pay for it. But the military expenses are increasing in extreme way ”.
The statement released by the group of Nobel laureates also points to the mutual benefit that such an initiative would have. “History shows how agreements to limit the proliferation of weapons are possible. Thanks to the SALT and START treaties (signed between 1972 and 1991), the United States and the Soviet Union have reduced their nuclear arsenal by 90% since the 1980s. Such negotiations can be successful because they are rational: each actor benefits from the reduction of the armament of his adversaries, and the same does all of humanity ”.
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More than 50 Nobel laureates ask to reduce world military spending by 2%