THE SHADOW WORLD: INSIDE THE GLOBAL ARMS TRADE
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), 672 pages.
In Shadow World, a book on the global arms trade, author Andrew Feinstein argues that there is only a thin line between what constitutes legal and illegal. "With bribery and corruption de rigueur," he writes, "there are very few arms transactions that are entirely above board." Feinstein notes that manufacturers are often maior donors to political parties and prospective employers of defeated politicians, which ensures that the beneficiaries of arms deals seldom face justice.
According to the author's estimates, including the trade in conventional arms which includes military vehicles, missiles, and ammunition--is worth $60 billion per year, accounts for more than 40 percent of the corruption in world trade, and has cost the lives of 231 million people in the last century. The money spent on arms, especially by developing countries, is desperately needed in other areas. Feinstein, who resigned from the African National Congress and South Africa's governing party after they were unwilling to launch an investigation into a maior arms deal recalls that, in the late 1990s, the South African government spent 6 billion [pounds sterling] (nearly $10 billion) on guns it barely used...