World's social, military spending: guess which is more

A world population of about 4.5 billion - much of it underfed - spends over $ 600 billion a year on the arms race, although there is already a stored nuclear force equal to 3.5 tons of TNT for each person on earth. The expenditures are growing.

This is the summary of the annual report ''World Military and Social Expenditures: 1982'' issued here by Ruth Leger Sivard for an international group of sponsoring organizations under the title ''World Priorities.''

Although anti-nuclear rallies have shown increasing strength around the world , the 45-page analysis notes, the superpowers have yet to reach new nuclear arms limitation agreements.

The report gives the following four ''measurable features of the arms race of the 1980s'':

* Costs now reaching about $600 billion a year, or well over $1 million a minute.

* Twenty-five million people serving in the regular armed forces, backed 3 to 1 by reserves, paramilitary forces, and civilians.

* An international trade in conventional arms, now over $35 billion a year, proliferating sophisticated weapons of war into remote and undeveloped areas.

* An ''uncontrolled'' buildup of nuclear weapons, at present equal to an explosive force of 3.5 tons of TNT for every person on earth.

This is the eighth report of World Priorities, a nonprofit research organization headed by Ruth Leger Sivard, former chief of the economics division of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, presently sponsored by nine organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the British Council of Churches, and others. The report compares current world expenditures for arms and social services.

The world stockpile of nuclear weapons, the study reports, has grown to the equivalent of 16 billion tons of TNT. By comparison, in World War II only 3 million tons of munitions were expended, and 40 to 50 million people died.

In social terms, the expenditure for arms takes place in a world where hunger is rife and income disparity great. In 24 countries food consumption averages 30 to 50 percent above requirements, but ''in 25 countries the average is 10 to 30 percent below requirements.''

The report declares, ''The richest fifth of the world's population has 71 percent of the world's product; the poorest fifth has 2 percent. . . . In 32 countries, governments spend more for military purposes than for education and health care combined.''

The report carries a 14-page statistical annex breaking down global social and arms expenditures. A feature of the arms situation, the report says, is the development of a big arms trade between rich and poor countries. It is described as ''one of the most prosperous and powerful industries in the world . . . the arms business now enjoys an estimated $150 billion in annual sales, ranking in size just below the annual incomes of the world's 14 largest national economies.''

The report charges that ''the military presence exerts a growing influence on political life.'' Comparing the United States with the Soviet Union, the report declares:

''Two nations representing 11 percent of the world population have spearheaded and shaped the global military competition since World War II. The US and USSR lead in the development and refinement of new forms of warfare. They spend half the world's military budget, export 58 percent of the arms moving in international trade, and control 96 percent of the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons.

''Only two economic giants could have mobilized the resources required for the extraordinary competition in which they have been engaged. Both countries, the USSR especially, have used a larger-than-average share of an expanding economic base to support the military effort. Super budgets and an unchallenged technological lead ensure that the two powers can continue to dominate the pace and direction of the arms race into the future.''

The report notes increased anti-nuclear protests around the world, which it attributes to a ''wider awareness of social neglect'' in a world able ''to lavish $600 billion'' in a single year on arms. But it sees the arms race accelerating:

''In summer 1982 there are no hopeful signs of an early thaw in the cold war. The bellicose rivalry between the two countries (US-USSR) has deep roots in mutual fear, reenforced over the years by each side's exaggerated views of the strength and designs of the opponent. Fear and rhetoric have dehumanized the enemy. Suspicion has become an addiction, generously fed by the self-interest of powerful bureaucracies.''

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