Give Peace a Chance (but first, let’s measure it)

I wonder what John Lennon would have had to say about this report.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.

IEP achieves its goals by developing new conceptual frameworks to define peacefulness; providing metrics for measuring peace; and uncovering the relationships between business, peace and prosperity as well as promoting a better understanding of the cultural, economic and political factors that create peace.

Each year the Institute for Economics and Peace produces the Global Peace Index (GPI), the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness, ranking 163 countries according to their levels of peace.  It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the economic cost of violence, analysing country level risk and understanding positive peace.

The GPI is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and now ranks 163 independent states and territories. The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. The tenth edition of the GPI finds that overall global levels of peace continue to deteriorate while the gap between the most and least peaceful countries continues to widen. While some of the most peaceful nations have reached historic levels of peace, the least peaceful nations have become even less peaceful. So intense is the violence and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that, when looking at the rest of the world, the average levels of peacefulness in fact increased.

Two of the three domains of the GPI deteriorated last year. Both the societal safety and security and ongoing conflict domains recorded lower levels of peace, while militarisation recorded a slight improvement.

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2015 was $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure represents 13.3 per cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world product) or $1,876 for every person in the world.

Based on the Institute’s research, here is a listing of the 10 most peaceful countries:

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Portugal
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Switzerland
  8. Canada
  9. Japan
  10. Slovenia

and here is the listing of the 10 least peaceful countries:

  1. Libya
  2. Sudan
  3. Ukraine
  4. Central African Republic
  5. Yemen
  6. Somalia
  7. Afghanistan
  8. Iraq
  9. South Sudan
  10. Syria

I’m sure most of my readers are curious how the U.S. ranks on the Peace Index.

Well, not so good. The U.S. rank was 103 (Cuba was 85); here are some facts about the U.S. from the report:

  • the security officers and police rate also declined in the United States for the fourth consecutive year, with the country now scoring well below the global average on this indicator.
  • the United States and China have the highest expenditure on the military, with 38 and 10 per cent, respectively, of the global share.
  • there is mention of “the excessive incarceration rate in the United States”

And according to an article in The Nation, the Special Ops forces of the U.S. is currently involved (in combat, special missions, or advising and training foreign forces) in 134 countries around the world.

So clearly there is work to do around the world, and in the United States, with regards to raising the level of peace.

And John Lennon would still be singing Give Peace a Chance:




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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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