A site I love is GlobalIssues.org. Their "Poverty Facts and Stats" page is a helpful reality check every once in a while.
Consider the global priorities in spending in 1998:

Global Priority | $U.S. Billions
Cosmetics in the United States | 8
Ice cream in Europe | 11
Perfumes in Europe and the United States | 12
Pet foods in Europe and the United States | 17
Business entertainment in Japan | 35
Cigarettes in Europe | 50
Alcoholic drinks in Europe | 105
Narcotics drugs in the world | 400
Military spending in the world | 780

And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries:

Global Priority | $U.S. Billions
Basic education for all | 6
Water and sanitation for all | 9
Reproductive health for all women | 12
Basic health and nutrition | 13


Blogger Mikkel said...

The alcoholic drinks in Europe figure seems low. We need to crank that sucker up so we can deal with the other depressing figures.

October 05, 2008 11:00 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

OTOH, I feel that the world market for narcotics makes up for a lot of that. Maybe if we spent half our military money getting high instead... Well, GDP would go down, for sure, but we might be able to spend the other half of the military budget (if we could find it) on good things, like... y'know, like education and clean water, and, like fresh flowers for *everyone* dude. Imagine what that would do to like the psychic environment of the world. Flowers. Whoa.

October 05, 2008 11:41 pm  

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