Refugees Per Kiloton: RPK as a Complement to GDP


Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service

Given the continuing coverage of the refugee/migrant crisis, and the occasional coverage of the considerable economic importance of the arms industries, further  thought could be given to representing the systemic linkage between the two through a new indicator — RPK — as a complement to GDP.

Refugees Per Kiloton (RPK) might focus on the number of refugees from a country in relation to the kilotons of explosive to which the country was exposed.


Refugees Per Kiloton (RPK) might focus on the number of refugees entering a (European) country in relation to the kilotons of explosives manufactured there.

Clearly some such possibility calls for much more careful thought, although the relevant data is presumably readily available or could be deduced.

My point is that it provides a missing insight into the role of those countries engaging in bombardment in relation to the numbers of incoming refugees giving rise to internal national or regional concerns — especially for Europe.

Media coverage and debate currently seems to ignore this systemic link, but of course the manufacturing countries derive considerable benefit from the sales of explosives and their delivery — irrespective of the challenge to their societies of incoming refugees.

The indicator might have the additional advantage of focusing debate on an equivalent to the Polluter Pays Principle, namely on a Provider Pays Principle, as adapted to bombing — a Bomber Pays Principle. This could reframe financial responsibility for the integration of refugees.


Anthony Judge (Australia) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. He is the instigator of the Union of Imaginative Associations ( — following his retirement in May 2007 as Director of Communications and Research at the Union of International Associations (UIA) ( He had held this operational position since the 1970s in addition to his formal role as Assistant Secretary-General. Based in Brussels for the century since its founding in 1907, the UIA has been a self-financed, international, nonprofit, research clearinghouse for information on all international nonprofit organizations and their preoccupations. He is a thinker, an author, and lives in Brussels.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Mar 2016.

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One Response to “Refugees Per Kiloton: RPK as a Complement to GDP”

  1. rosemerry says:

    I note that a similar move to this very sensible solution was taken up in a speech to Codepink’s conference on Saudi Arabia March 5-6 by Vijay Prashad, shown on the Real News Network.