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U.S. Spends $2.16 Trillion Annually on "Violence Containment Industry"

From Bob Baskin @ The Peace Alliance, 10/10/12...


By defining a new industry as the ‘Violence Containment Industry,’ it is now possible to aggregate all expenditures related to the containment or consequences of violence. Our research indicates that when measured as a percentage of GDP this industry has expanded by 25% in the past ten years.
- Steve Killelea
, Executive Chairman of IEP

The Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) recently released a new study on the costs of violence containment in the United States.  As you can see, the numbers are pretty devastating.

The study is the first systematic measure to account for all violence-related expenditure in the U.S. economy. It captures government, corporate, and individual expenditures regardless of whether it is related to international affairs, such as offshore military activities, or domestic spending, for instance, dealing with crime and its consequences.

There is one element we find particularly encouraging around this report from our friends at IEP -- the articulation of a "violence containment industry." This offers a powerful framing to help articulate this industry and the great challenge violence poses, as well as aids our collective cause to make the work of peacebuidling and violence prevention a priority.  We know there are far more effective ways to deal with the scourge of violence.  Read the full report here.


  • Violence containment cost the U.S. $2.16 trillion per year, that’s one in every seven dollars.
  • $15,000 per taxpayer spent on preventing or dealing with violence.
  • If violence containment were an industry it would be the largest industry in the U.S.
  • Federal expenditure has expanded in the last ten years, increasing by 15%
  • The size of Violence Containment is equal to the entire UK  economy
  • A 5% reduction in Violence Containment spending for 5 years would provide the capital to rebuild the nation’s levees systems, update the energy infrastructure and complete the upgrading of the nations school infrastructure.
  • Violence–related expenditures four times greater than the Department of Defense budget
  • If Violence Containment was classified as an industry, would be the largest in the U.S.

"The study evidentiates that even small reductions in Violence Containment spending would result in a meaningful stimulation to the U.S. economy," Steve Killelea.

We are continually grateful to the Institute of Economics and Peace for their stellar research and work. 

In Peace,

Bob Baskin
President, The Peace Alliance

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