In order to spend such large budgets on nuclear weapons, nuclear armed States are forced to reduce the budgets in other areas such as health, education, environmental protection and welfare. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, architect of Pakistan’s atomic programme acknowledged this opportunity cost of nuclear weapons programs, asserting that “if India builds the bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”
Supported by the The Back from the Brink Fund, Move the Nuclear Weapons Money is a global campaign to shift nuclear weapons budgets and investments to better purposes, such as economic development, ending poverty, protecting the climate, supporting renewable energy, creating jobs, and providing adequate healthcare, housing and education for all.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The increasing tensions between nuclear powers has moved the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists this year to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 2 Minutes to Midnight. These risks are exacerbated by the corporations manufacturing nuclear weapons, who have a vested interest in keeping the nuclear weapons budgets high. Such budgets divert resources from other areas of need. Over $1 trillion is earmarked for nuclear weapons over the next ten years, most of it being spent by the United States (see below).
This money could instead cover all the following:
“It is our choice. We can either spend the millions and millions of dollars on nuclear weapons and MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – or on our future, the planet, kids, education, equality. This is what Count the Nuclear Weapons Money is about.”
– Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
Most of the nuclear weapons budget goes to companies which are awarded contracts to manufacture the nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. These companies are few – there are only about 25 of them in the world – but are very rich and powerful. They actively lobby their legislatures and governments to continue spending on nuclear weapons. And they promote tensions and conflicts between nuclear armed States in order to justify these high budgets. Such conflicts could lead to a nuclear war by escalation, accident or miscalculation.
We can reverse the power of these companies by ensuring that we do not invest in them as long as they continue to manufacture nuclear weapons. More significantly, we can ensure that our states, cities, public funds, banks, universities, churches and other investors also divest from these companies.
The campaign has already had success. Four governments (Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland) at least 10 cities (mostly in the USA and Germany) and a number of banks have adopted policies ending investments of public funds in such companies. With the adoption in 2017 at the UN of a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, there is increased traction and possibilities for our campaign to take-off.
“Move the money means moving from a future of death and destruction beyond imagination to a future where life — education, health, human dignity, and sustainable economic development — flourishes. What do you want? What do you think God wants?”
– Jonathan Granoff
From October 24-30 (United Nations Disarmament Week), we will be running a public promotion action – Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. Over 7 days and 7 nights in New York we will count out $1 trillion, the nuclear weapons budget for the next 10 years, in 1 million mock notes each of $1 million value. And we will ‘reallocate’ this money to areas of economic and social need including the Sustainable Development Goals.
Join Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. Join us in New York on one of the days between Oct 24-30 for an exciting action to count the nuclear weapons money and reallocate it to better purposes. Register here. If you can’t join us in New York, watch it live on your phone or computer via livestream. The Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action is hosted by the World Future Council and supported by other cooperating organizations in the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money Campaign.
Move the Nuclear Weapons Money and our partner organizations, including World Future Council and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), are working with parliamentarians in nuclear-armed States to shift budget priorities from nuclear weapons to better purposes, including to support economic development, climate protection, renewable energy, education, health and welfare.
In the USA, PNND Co-President Ed Markey and Congressman Earl Blumenauer have introduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditure (SANE) Act, which calls for cutting the nuclear weapons budget by at least $200 billion over the next ten years and reallocating these funds to job creation, climate protection, renewable energies, health, education and economic development.
In the UK, PNND Council Member Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) has committed a Labour government to defense diversification which would ensure alternative jobs and economic initiatives while phasing out the UK nuclear weapons system.
We have also raised this issue with the governments and legislatures of other nuclear-armed States including France, Russia, China, India and Pakistan. In addition, we are active at the United Nations and inter-parliamentary bodies such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, to build multilateral support for moving the nuclear weapons money.
In May 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), which oversees the U.S. nuclear stockpile and production complex, released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Request for Weapons Activities, a request of $10.2 billion. This is nearly 11% above the FY 2017 Omnibus level to meet the requirements to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and infrastructure. Furthermore, the agency forecasted that more than $300 billion will be spent to advance nuclear weapons programs over the next 25 years.
In October 2017, the Congressional Budget Office provided a detailed report on the Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, by Function, 2017 to 2046.
“The planned expenditure of more than $1 trillion to enhance our nuclear arsenal will not only increase the risk of nuclear disaster but fuel a global arms race and divert crucial resources needed to assure the well-being of the American people and people all over the world.”
– Resolution AJR-33 adopted by the California State Assembly, August 29, 2018
Move the Nuclear Weapons Money exists on individual contributions like yours. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will ask ourselves whether we could have done more for the health and well-being of the planet, of humanity and all living things. Leverage your charitable giving to create social change with ICV’s Catalytic Philanthropy.
Programming, Coursework, Partnerships and Development will address the Sustainable Development Gaols, with measurable outcomes of achieving all of the 17 SDGs.
“All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours.”
– President John F. Kennedy
Challenges that threaten humanity require innovative responses and insights. The power of collaboration can ensure a prosperous future. Our experienced team with representatives from the cooperating organizations has the character, courage and commitment to solving the nature of the challenges we face today, and how to respond to and contain these threats.
Holger Güssefeld (Germany) is Special Advisor on Peace and Disarmament for the World Future Council, and is a is a special projects creator. He is the conceiver of the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action, and was also the creator of the successful #3DNukeMissile project and the Tank of Bread (Bread not Bombs) project. Holger’s first disarmament project was in the mid-1980s, when he established and co-ordinated a campaign which saw 200,000 children from around the world write to US President Reagan and the USSR President Gorbachev and had a positive effect on nuclear disarmament talks. He now runs a company dealing with innovative product development where, for example, he has set up creative projects for the further education of prisoners.
Jonathan Granoff (USA), is President of the Global Security Institute; United Nations Representative of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates; Ambassador for Peace, Security and Nuclear Disarmament of the Parliament of the World’s Religions; former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law; and Chair of the Task Force on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Advisor to the Committee on National Security of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association.
Marzhan Nurzhan (Kazakhstan) is PNND Coordinator for Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet countries). She is also Coordinator of the Abolition 2000 Youth Network and a member of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Youth Group.
Alyn Ware (New Zealand/Czech Republic) is PNND Global Coordinator and Co-founder of UNFOLD ZERO and Move the Nuclear Weapons Money. He is consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, Chair of the World Future Council Peace and Disarmament Commission, Disarmament adviser for Religions for Peace and a co-founder of Abolition 2000, the global civil society network to eliminate nuclear weapons.
“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded.”
– Ban Ki-moon