Being paid by the government to shelve books in a library, whether as an employee or as an Americorps member, is no more laudable or valuable than being paid by Crown Books to stock bookshelves in a bookstore. A host of private-sector jobs provide enormous public benefits—consider health care professionals, medical and scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. Many of these people earn less than they could in alternative work; they have chosen to serve in their own way. Yet government programs that equate public employment with service to society effectively denigrate service through private employment.
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Unfortunately, more and more often we hear that increasing military spending will help solve today’s social and economic problems. The logic here is quite simple. Additional allocations for military needs create new jobs. For reference: The growth of military spending: USA—$529 billion in 2006, $555 billion in 2007, and $583 billion in 2008. Experts expect $606 billion in 2009. Great Britain—£27 billion in 2006, £31 billion in 2007, £34 billion in 2008, and £35.2 billion planned for 2009. Germany—€23 billion in 2006, €24 billion in 2007, and €25 billion in 2008. China—$38 billion in 2006, $44 billion in 2007, $58 billion in 2008, and a 17% increase in 2009 (around $66 billion). Georgia (according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)—$49 million in 2002, $80 million in 2004, $362 million in 2006, $592 million in 2007, and $1.104 billion in 2008. At a glance, it seems to be merely a method to fight the crisis and unemployment. Perhaps, in the short run, such a measure may yield some results. But in reality, instead of solving the problem, militarisation pushes it to a deeper level. It draws away from the economy immense financial and material resources, which could have been used much more efficiently elsewhere.
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