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A moral problem

(15 Posts)
SuFlay Fri 01-Aug-14 09:49:41

Good morning ladies, (and a few gentlemen). I've been reading some very upsetting discussions in here about the terrible wars in Gaza and other places. On the TV and the radio there's pictures and reports of innocent little children killed and maimed and other awful things that us here can't imagine ever happening in our 'green and and pleasant land'.

And as I was thinking about it all it seemed to me that no matter how big the quarrels between all these countries is, these awful things wouldn't be nearly so bad if the leaders of these countries couldn't get hold of weapons. So I did a bit of googling. And I was well shocked. Our country is only next to America in selling weapons. It's 15% of all weapons sold overseas. And they do it often at 'arms fairs'. There's one at Farnborough, which I thought was only about an air display.

I also found a group called

It's really shocking.

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 10:40:16

If anyone has any investment funds, an endowment, pension, a stocks and shares ISA, you are probably contributing to this.

Penstemmon Fri 01-Aug-14 11:04:34

Indeed rose that is why it is probably better to be a little poorer but ethical.

The love of money is a dangerous thing and the firms that sell arms indicriminately, often to both warring sides, laugh all the way to their off shore accounts! Doncha just love big business!!

Eloethan Fri 01-Aug-14 14:23:03

I agree SuFlay. I get so cross when British politicians justify arms fairs and our own heavy reliance on the arms industry by saying things like "The industry is vital to our economy/creates thousands of jobs", etc., etc.

Afghan heroin farmers said that their economic survival depended on the heroin they cultivated, but economic expediency isn't considered a reasonable argument for the production of addictive "recreational" drugs so why is it considered a reasonable argument for the production of weapons that maim and kill?

Iam64 Fri 01-Aug-14 18:51:46

SuFlay, it is a moral problem. I like the link Eloethan makes between the way the arms trade is justified, whilst the heroin farmers in Afghanistan are pilloried.

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 19:25:15

We can invest personally in ethical funds (I do), but do we have control over where our pensions may be invested? Or our endowments to repay mortgages?

People may also have invested in the Co-op - supposedly ethical but mismanaged by someone supporting the drugs trade in his own way!

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 19:55:56

Ha! That makes me sound rich. Ethical funds indeed - I mean fund. (very small).

Mishap Fri 01-Aug-14 22:25:00

The arms trade is iniquitous and it makes me shudder that GB trades arms and DC seeks to justify it.

Obama has just just announced that he is re-arming the Israeli war effort.

absent Fri 01-Aug-14 23:44:04

The UK Government also provides special export credit terms to arms manufacturers. Somehow it manages to allow them to sideline the rules such as selling offensive weapons to Indonesia to use against its own citizens. It's a filthy trade and everyone who benefits from it is filthy by association.

rosequartz Sat 02-Aug-14 09:36:10

So, apart from checking what funds your pension/endowment/savings are invested in and urging the companies concerned to invest ethically, what can we do?

We cannot refuse to accept our pensions (well most people can't anyway) or cash in endowments and be unable to pay off our mortgages.

I would not agree that 'we are all filthy by association' but would say many of us are guilty by association by investing, perhaps unknowingly, in many things with which we may not agree.
But then many of us are from Forces families - is that indefensible too?
It is how these arms are used by unstable and immoral regimes that is the worrying thing.

Eloethan Sat 02-Aug-14 12:09:55

Who decides what is an "unstable and/or "immoral" regime and on what criteria?

The UK is a major supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia. It is perhaps a relatively "stable" regime but whether it could be described as a regime that is "moral" is debatable. It is not, for instance, a "democracy" - often the criteria by which other countries are deemed worthy of support.

The UK supplied weapons to Indonesia which occupied East Timor between 1975 and 1999. Indonesia was certainly not seen by all countries as occupying the "moral high ground" - so, again, judgments as to whether a party involved in a conflict is "the good guy" are subjective and are often tied up with historical cultural allegiances but, some would argue, are mainly driven by economic considerations.

Arms manufacturers are the parasites who profit from conflicts throughout the world and who have no wish to see compromise and co-operation between and within nations. It's therefore unfortunate that our politicians - of all colours - forge such firm links with these companies. When Labour was publicly urging peace between India and Pakistan, they were quite happy to see the sale of BAE Hawk aircraft to India. Michael Portillo (a previous Secretary of State for Defence) pushed for contracts for BAE whilst in office and in subsequent years became a non-executive director of BAE Systems.

Annaries Sun 03-Aug-14 00:42:03

This site shows you ethical pensions. My husband and I have an ethical pension. When our pension pot was in an ordinary one, it kept losing money, so we moved it to an ethical one and it gained. There must be a moral there somewhere. We could say that we did not want our money invested in arms or drugs or companies that we did not agree with.

absent Sun 03-Aug-14 01:49:26

Eloethan In answer to your question, so-called stable regimes are designated mainly by the USA. The Baathists in both Iraq and Syria were considered stable and, therefore, desirable, for decades. Iran was "stable" before the Shah was deposed (along with his hideous SAVAK henchman) but was then considered unstable, hence the arming of Sadaam during the decade-long Iran-Iraq War Of course, there was the occasional blip in arms supplies - think the Iran-Contra scandal.

Eloethan Sun 03-Aug-14 09:23:50

Yes, I think you're right absent.

HollyDaze Sun 03-Aug-14 09:33:40

Our country is only next to America in selling weapons.

And yet they are the two countries that often shout the loudest condemnation hmm