Value Added Tax or Goods and Services Tax is often added on to the price of consumer products deemed non-essential. When buying our cosmetics, clothes and snackfoods many of us might not be aware of exactly where our money (and our taxes) ends up, particularly, that some of it goes towards funding the weapons industry.
Just how much consumer taxes are put towards supporting the arms industry can be vague at best. Without scrutinising and paying close attention to the details of a country’s federal budget, it is all too easy to consciously or unconsciously end up contributing to a program, such as arms and defence, we otherwise would not. To help clarify this process in Germany (which is one of the top three arms exporters in the world), a student/advisor team at ecosign/Academy for Design in Cologne developed the Weapons Calculator app which demonstrates how the shopping and the defence industry are indeed linked to each other. The app maps out a clear and accurate picture of how the purchases made by consumers end up co-financing the defence budget.
Designed by student Alisa Ceh under the support of Mario Jahns the app is designed to help consumers understand where their money goes. By simply entering the total shopping sum, the app calculates the amount of money that will be credited to the defence sector and, subsequently, the number of weapons and ammunition that can be purhased for that amount. The app clearly displays how much of our shopping expenditure will go towards funding a weapon as wellas how much is still required to purchase or build the next weapon.
The idea behind the app is to make consumers aware of the ways in which we unconsciously and non-deliberately contribute to funding the defence industry, regardless of our personal opinions on the matter. If nothing else, the developers hope to stimulate a debate by making the public aware of ways the defence industry is growing and producing more and more weapons.
It sounds like hyperbole but there’s more than a grain of truth in it: next time you go out shopping, make sure that you are aware about how many grenades your shopping bill is worth. Downoad the Weapons Calculator app for iOS here.
Our original article on the Weapons Calculator can be found on the German section of RESET.