June 15, 2007

How peaceful are you?

A new global peace index was recently announced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist newspaper. I thought this was a ranking in which Honduras should come out pretty well since Honduras has only been involved in one very short war and it basically started over a soccer game.

I was wrong.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

The methodology of the index takes note of internal factors—crime rates, prison population, trust between citizens—and external ones, like relations with neighbours, arms sales, foreign troop deployments.
The Economist Intelligence Unit measured countries' peacefulness based on wide range of indicators - 24 in all - including ease of access to "weapons of minor destruction" (guns, small explosives), military expenditure, local corruption, and the level of respect for human rights.

After compiling the Index, the researchers examined it for patterns in order to identify the "drivers" that make for peaceful societies. They found that peaceful countries often shared high levels of democracy and transparency of government, education and material well-being.
The main findings of the Global Peace Index are:
  • Peace is correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration
  • Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption
  • Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocs are most likely to get a higher ranking

"This Index stands to broaden our very definition of what peace is, as well as how to achieve it," said Fulbright. "Peace isn't just the absence of war; it's the absence of violence."

The Global Peace Index studied 121 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Here are some excerpts from the ranking list, most peaceful being number 1:

Rank Country

1 Norway
2 New Zealand
3 Denmark
4 Ireland
5 Japan
96 United States
97 Iran
98 Honduras
99 South Africa
100 Philippines
101 Azerbaijan
102 Venezuela
117 Nigeria
118 Russia
119 Israel
120 Sudan
121 Iraq

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