Russia and North Korea are among the foremost nuclear powers in the world. They have one of the highest number of nuclear warheads and yet, their people have a low standard of living, which shows that their human development is not advanced. And this is a serious problem.
People tend to confuse being a nuclear and military power with being an economic power. Yes, Russia and North Korea are both military powers with advanced nuclear capacity and yet both countries are not economic powers. Switzerland and Singapore are both economic powers and yet they aren’t military powers. Thus, a country with advanced military capacity is not necessarily an economic power and an economically advanced country is not necessarily a military power either. But the empirical evidence clearly shows that Russia and North Korea made the wrong decision and today their people are paying for it.
If we compare the economic output and the living standard of Russia, North Korea, the United States, and South Korea; indeed, we can see Russia and North Korea have a GDP per capita of $14,404 and $1,300, respectively. The GDP per capita of the United States is $76,348 and that of South Korea is 34,149. To put this in perspective, the GDP of North Korea is similar in size to Cameroon. The United States and South Korea have a much higher living standard than Russia and North Korea. The United States and South Korea prioritize their economy over their military while Russia and North Korea prioritized militarism over their economy.
Russia has a long history of militarism, dating back to the Tsars and the Soviet Union. The Russian military has always been a top priority for the government, and it has been willing to spend heavily on defense, even at the expense of other sectors of the economy. Russia is rich in natural resources, such as oil and gas. This gives the government a significant source of revenue to fund its military.
The North Korean government has also prioritized its military over its economy. This is due to a number of factors, including the country's long-standing rivalry with South Korea and the threat it perceives from the United States.
From a logical standpoint, it is irrational for a country to prioritize militarism over its economy, and there are several reasons for that. First, when a government spends more money on its military, it has less money to spend on other important things, such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. This can have a negative impact on the quality of life for its citizens.
Second, prioritizing militarism over the economy can lead to economic instability. Indeed, a large military can be a drain on a country's economy. The cost of maintaining and equipping a military is high, and it can lead to budget deficits and inflation. This can make it difficult for businesses to invest and create jobs.
Third, prioritizing militarism over the economy can promote violence and militaristic culture. A focus on militarism can lead to a society that is more likely to glorify violence and war than political and economic stability. This can make it more difficult to resolve conflicts peacefully, and it can also lead to human rights abuses.
Instead of prioritizing militarism, governments should focus on promoting economic development and improving the quality of life for their citizens. This will make the country more secure and stable in the long run. The empirical evidence clearly shows that when a country prioritizes militarism over economic development, especially a country that isn't yet an economic power, it leads to a lower standard of living, lower wages, economic decline, and poverty. Russia and North Korea are the palpable evidence of this.