Jobs and the Economy

Shifting priorities

Arms production employs many workers with valuable skills. But the arms sector is, in the words of industry executives, "stagnant"[1] and "flatlining at best" (Guardian 15.4.2012).

Meanwhile other sectors with vastly greater potential are starved of government investment and political support. The most obvious example is renewable energy technology, which features high-tech manufacturing and the same engineering skills sets as arms production. The contrast in market potential is starkly summed-up by Defence Industry publisher, Jane's:

The defense market worldwide is worth a trillion dollars annually. The energy and environmental market is worth at least eight times this amount. The former is set to contract...; the latter is set to expand exponentially, especially in the renewables arena.

Jane's online

However, in 2012 the government spent nearly 30 times more on arms Research & Development than it did on renewable energy R&D.[2]

Because arms jobs are paid for by taxpayers, resources can be redirected. Shifting priorities to tackle climate change could have a dramatic impact. It could secure green jobs for the future and improve human security rather than threaten it.

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We'll be doing much more on "shifting priorities" over the coming months. Sign up to CAAT's email bulletin to follow developments.

  1. Defense News 9 July 2012. Interview with Ian King, CEO of BAE Systems: "The market is completely stagnant. Our peers are not doing much, either."
  2. UK Research & Development spending on arms was £1,306 million in 2011/12 (BIS, SET Statistics 2013) while R&D for renewable energy was £45.46 million in 2012 (International Energy Agency, R&D Statistics).
Page updated 17 July 2014
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