Regarding visualisation, there's no bigger confusion than grasping just how much money the Western powers are shovelling into the war against Russia. So far, something like $233 billion has been donated to Ukraine. The top donors are the EU($90B) and the United States ($73B). Interestingly, most of the EU funding has been aimed at financial aid, while the US donates are mostly military aid. Neither the EU nor the US spent much on humanitarian aid, at least not by comparison. But then, humanitarian money does not go into the pockets of the elites, now does it? The arms companies and financial institutions seem to be leveraging this Ukraine mess for a return on assets. But that's another story. Now, I'd like to compare spending on Ukrainian and Israeli wars against efforts that do help human beings.
Let's look at one of humanity's most dreaded killers: cancer. In total, global oncology spending in 2022 was $193 billion. The numbers are far more telling in key research, where funding often comes from philanthropy. The Lancet reported recently that some 66,388 awards with a total investment of about $24.5 funded research for 2016-20. And now these figures have nosedived. In 2020, there were 19.3 million cases and 10 million deaths from the dreaded disease.
If we look at how many people are starving on our planet, it's appalling to think of billions thrown away on unwinnable wars for the sake of selling weapons. In 2021, U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said it would take an estimated $40 billion annually to end world hunger by 2030. Let's think about that for a moment. Each day, 25,000 people, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. Envision the lost potential of all those children perishing, if you can. Beasley went on to etch the situation in stone with this statement:
"There is 400 trillion dollars' worth of wealth on the earth today, and the fact that 9 million people die from hunger every year... Shame on us. In the height of COVID, billionaires' net worth increase was $5.2 billion per day. At the same time, 24,000 people die per day from hunger. Shame on us. Every hour, the net worth of billionaires during the height of COVID was a substantial $216 million per hour. Yet 1000 people per hour were dying from hunger... Shame on us."Two-hundred-sixteen million dollars per hour! I'll wager the vast majority of that wealth had nothing whatsoever to do with helping human beings, curing disease, or stopping the endless wars. Moving on, let's look at the homeless/poverty situation worldwide. In 2021, there were 150 million homeless people worldwide. While so many people here in Greece and other countries in Europe strive to go live in the United States, few realise that over 18% of the people living in my country live below the poverty line. And no one wanting to become American realises that the overwhelming solution to poverty in my country is to punish and imprison the poor (Homelessness World Cup). Using only what's been spent on Ukraine so far, the U.S. Government could have issued a check for $1,825 to each of the 40 million homeless people in the country. That's two or even three months' rent for all homeless people in the USA.
Even in highly developed countries like Germany, more than 14.8% of the people are living beneath the national poverty line. Interestingly, some Latin American countries equal or better poverty rate than North American or some European countries. Take Argentina as an example. The situation there is no worse than it is in the United States. In Chile, only 9% of the population lives in dire circumstances. Unbelievably, there are countries like Bangladesh, traditionally thought of as the world's poorest countries, where less than 13% of the population lives below the poverty line. In Romania, 26% of the people live in extreme poverty, and in neighbouring Bulgaria, the rate is almost 24%.
Turning to more practical matters that bear on quality of life and efficiency, we find the United States of America ranks 13th out of 141 countries in overall infrastructure. What a stunning achievement for the richest (supposedly) country in the world! After all, how do we balance what a country's wealth is? What is the negative value of a dangerous, rusty bridge or a pothole in a road so deep you can hear Chinese being spoken from its depths? How bad is 13th place? Well, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that it would take 50 years to complete only the necessary repairs on more than 46,000 deteriorated bridges in the country. Both the Trump and Biden administrations promised to pour more money into the problem, but so far the US of A is still crumbling. So that you understand, Spain, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and eight other countries have better quality infrastructures than the US. Remember I mentioned at the beginning, prioritisation? Is it possible that the Spaniards are doing more to care for their own people than America? Does Spain start proxy wars on Russia's borders? I do not see Spanish ships in the South China Sea provoking war.
Since we landed in Spain, let's take a look at some interesting facts about their quality of life. For instance, the Spanish Constitution includes a right to housing. The reality of homelessness there is that less than 8.5% of the population is homeless, and most of those live in shelters. Spain ranked 27th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index Rankings. Romania was 49th, the USA was 17th, Chile 43rd, and South Korea was 23rd. For me at least, what is significant in these numbers is the wide disparity in position in a world that was supposed to be some globalisation miracle a couple of decades ago. Despite all the PR and belly-rubbing the people of Earth have received, things in most countries are just not getting better. And trillions are being spent on wars and corporate machinations that steal from our prosperity.
Returning to my thesis, we must add the humongous waste of money that has gone to the state of Israel, Saudi deals, and the new monies soon to flow in that direction simply to eradicate or force migrate the Palestinians. Before the current crisis, the Biden administration had pledged $14.3 billion in aid to Israel since the October 7th Hamas campaign against the Israelis began. But this figure is a bit misleading if we want to see just how massive the American sacrifice for Israel has been. Since World War II, the United States has given Israel more aid than any other nation, currently more than $260 billion. To wrap things up for this report, the U.N. says the conflict in Yemen is one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Saudi Arabia does not receive American aid through loans, grants, or gifts pegged for killing Yemenis. However, the US Accounting Office reported that between 2015 and 2021, the US Department of Defense supplied more than $54.6 billion in military support for the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. Now, imagine what human strife could be alleviated with these hundreds of billions combined with the trillions spent on failed US wars across the globe.
For those who enjoy simple examples of what could be. There are over 33,000 homeless veterans who fought these wars for the United States. The billions in military support only for Saudi Arabia would be enough to gift each one of those vets $1.7 million. You do the math. What is being spent to kill millions of us, could save the millions being killed PLUS millions of others starving, wasting away, or swept away by disasters. Now you tell me when the time will be right to get out the torches and pitchforks.