Spoiler: Governments reveal their priorities every year when they allocate their expenditures. The choice of spending on education, elderly care, health, infrastructure, social security, communications, and other areas relative to military expenditures shows the governments’ priorities.
Military expenditures are made for aggressive and defensive reasons. Some governments spend large sums on the military for aggressive reasons, attack their neighbours and/or a domestic opposition. Other countries spend money on the military for defensive reasons, either their own or for protection of an allied country.
Autocratic countries tend to spend more on military expenditures than on health. Only two countries in Europe spend relatively more on the military, Belarus and Russia. Both are autocratic regimes which oppress their populations. One of them, Russia, is engaged in war against Ukraine and supporting the butcher Assad by bombing schools and hospitals. Furthermore, Russia also engages in wars and conflicts by using private military companies such as the infamous Wagner company.
NATO countries spend more on health.
Spoiler: China is an imperialist state. Even though the mass murderer Lenin’s ramblings about Imperialism were meaningless, one could use them to show that the Genocidal communist regime is an imperialist country according to Lenin.
Capital exports, concentration and merger of industry and capital is a defining characteristic for China. The Belt and Road Initiative’s infrastructure projects, in emerging African and Asian countries, are financed by Chinese banks and built by Chinese construction firms. Most of these projects are unprofitable, making the host countries indebted to the Chinese government.
China has not only fought imperialist war against Tibet, and China also threatens to invade Taiwan and large parts of the South China Sea.
But China has taken Imperialism to the next level. In Lenin’s definition, Imperialism was the final stage of capitalism, an end. China has turned the definition upside down, Imperialism is a means to an end, Chinese domination. China intends to impose its model of oppression, violation of human rights and genocide on the rest of the world.
poiler: The Russian economy is stagnating. The Russian growth rate is exceptionally low. The 2008-2019 average annual Russian growth rate was 0.7 percent to be compared by 3.9 percent per year for the average Upper Middle-Income economy. The Russian economy appears to be in a Middle-Income Trap.
Resource-rich countries can escape the trap by implementing policies that exploit new sources of sustained growth. This has not happened in Russia. The reason is that sustained growth requires growth-friendly economic and political institutions because such institutions favour the creatin of new firms but may threaten the incumbent economic and political elites’ business.
The Russian Middle-Income trap is made of Putin. It is a political economy trap which is characterised by institutions that favour the deals-based relationship between Kremlin and the oligarchs.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, it is deliberate. Putin doesn’t care about growth. He cares about sovereignty and stability.
Spoiler: Today, 3rd of May, is World Press Freedom Day 2021. Press freedom is under duress in many countries and journalists are being harassed, jailed and killed by authoritarian regimes.
It’s not getting better. More journalists were reported missing, imprisoned, or murdered in 2020 than in 2019. A lot of this took place in Belarus where Lukashenka, with support of Putin, decided to clamp down on journalists whose reports about how his police’s brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrators.
Decreased world press freedom goes hand in hand with the increased autocratisation of the world. Autocratic leaders do not want a free press to report about its nefarious activities. Belarus and Russia lead the fight against the free press.