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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 - April, 1953 The energy cost of "defence"

Let's try to estimate how much energy we spend on our military.

In 2007-8, the fraction of British central government expenditure that went to defence was £33 billion/£587billion = 6%. If we include the UK's spending on counter-terrorism and intelligence (£2.5 billion per year and rising), the total for defensive activities comes to £36billion.

As a crude estimate we might guess that 6% of this £36 billion is spent on energy at a cost of 2.7p per kWh. (6% is the fraction of GDP that is spent on energy, and 2.7p is the average price of energy.) That works out to about 80TWh per year of energy going into defence: making bullets, bombs, nuclear weapons; making devices for delivering bullets, bombs, and nuclear weapons; and roaring around keeping in trim for the next game of good-against-evil. In our favourite units, this corresponds to 4 kWh per day per person.

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