An economy based on peace-building could realize an annual “peace dividend” of $1.5 trillion (conservative estimate),
so how much are you willing to invest in building the peace? How about pledging $10 or more (<–please clink) to The Peace Alliance and betting that 700 other people will join you to reach $7,000 by August 30, 2010? The pledges will only be collected if and when we reach the goal of $7,000 before August 30, 2010. The impact of a $7K check to The Peace Alliance would be huge. Your support will help The Peace Alliance to continue building and establishing high-level relationships; move to a larger, more accessible office; expand staff to include grassroots field support and a team of six full-time, whip-smart interns; and create an updated website.
• Dept. of Justice low average estimate of expense saved by violence prevention is at least 7 times the cost of the program.
• Add the direct and indirect costs of inter-personal violence in the USA, $300 billion per year paid by government, $500 billion paid by victims (WHO) to the direct cost of US military involvement in violent conflict, $666 billion (FY08 budget proposal) and the total spent on crises of violence is at least $1.4 trillion.
• It makes “cents” to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace. Initial investment might be $10 billion, could save $70 billion. Reinvested in prevention, an upward spiral of economic benefits would quickly result in healthy growth and development for children, security and prosperity for adults.
• An annual investment of $59 billion for 10 years would provide shelter, health care, AIDS control, adequate nutrition for EVERYONE on the planet. The need for armed forces will decline rapidly as world desperation, the root cause of violent conflict, subsides.
• Investing 1/8 of $1.4 trillion, or $175 billion, in proven, cost-effective violence prevention programs coordinated by a Department of Peace could save USA economy $1.2 trillion. We would still have $490 billion for the military, over three times the combined military spending of Russia, China, and the six “rogue” states.
• As the need for a military declines over many years, the interest on the national debt attributable to military spending and the costs of veteran benefits ($300 billion) can be added to the peace dividend, totalling $1.5 trillion annually.
• State Department funding for diplomacy and development, $35 billion, does not address violence within the USA or terrorism.
• The true cost of the Iraq war, the depression of the US economy, is largely invisible to the public. Two startling facts: (1) the value of the stock market is estimated to be $4 trillion less in 2006 than would have been predicted on the basis of past performance, and (2) the increase in the price of oil reduces our national income by about $510 billion a year.
PEACE is POWER
• Power WITH, not power OVER, other people meets everyone’s needs, resolves conflicts.
• Peace satisfies the needs to belong, to develop gifts, and to contribute.
• Peaceful people experience gratitude and joy, consume less energy, are more creative at solving problems, have stronger relationships, better health, better education.
More from Ari Cowan’s National Violence Reduction Initiative