Mahbub ul Haq

“Countries do not lack the financial resources [for human development]. What they lack is the political courage. We need to ask the leaders of the third world, and ask them bluntly, why they insist on spending 130 billion dollars each year on the military when ever a quarter of this expenditure can finance their social agenda. And we must ask they why they insist on having six soldiers for every one doctor when their people are dying of ordinary diseases, from internal disintegration, not from external aggression, from many threats to human security, not any threats to territorial security.

And we must ask them why they are not convinced that every tank that they buy costs the immunization of four million children, and every jet fighter they purchase costs the schooling of three million children, and every submarine they store away in the waters denies safe drinking water to 60 million people. Why do we let them argue poverty of resources for human development when they have well-fed armies but unfed people, and when these nations spend more on their armies every year that the total education and health budget of their nations.

And at the same time, we must ask the leaders of the rich nations why do you… refuse to close down your military bases, phase out your military assistance and restrict the export of sophisticated military weapons… even now that the Cold War is over? What is your excuse? And why do you make such handsome profits on your export of arms to poor, starved, disintegrating countries while giving them lectures all the time about human rights?”

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