June 1, 2007

"All we are saying..."

The Economist Intelligence Unit, a division of the corporation that publishes The Economist, has come out with its first annual "Global Peace Index," an index that ranks 121 countries based upon their "peacefulness." One of the irritants I have about certain American Christians and Islamophobes (who are often one and the same) is their claim that the US is sooo peaceful and Muslims are sooo violent. Well, the Global Peace Index exposes the lie behind that claim. Of the 121 countries in this year's index, the US placed 96th, ahead of Iran, but behind Yemen. The most peaceful Muslim country is Oman (22) [see below for a list of the remaining Muslim-majority countries]. Countries of interest: Norway (1), New Zealand (2), Japan (5), Canada (8), Hong Kong (23), Australia (25), Singapore (29), South Korea (32), United Kingdom (49), China (60), India (109), Russia (118), and Israel (119).

The following comes from the press release that describes the objective of the Index and how the Index was created:

"The objective of the Global Peace Index was to go beyond a crude measure of wars by systematically exploring the texture of peace," explained Global Peace Index President, Mr. Clyde McConaghy, speaking in Washington. "The Index provides a quantitative measure of peacefulness that is comparable over time, and we hope it will inspire and influence world leaders and governments to further action."

The rankings show that even among the G8 countries there are significant differences in peacefulness: While Japan was the most peaceful of the G8 countries, at a rank of five in the Index, Russia neared the bottom at number 118. The Global Peace Index also reveals that countries which had a turbulent time for parts of the twentieth century, such as Ireland and Germany, have emerged as peace leaders in the 21st century.

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. While the U.S. possesses many of these characteristics, its ranking was brought down by its engagement in warfare and external conflict, as well as high levels of incarceration and homicide. The U.S.'s rank also suffered due to the large share of military expenditure from its GDP, attributed to its status as one of the world's military-diplomatic powers.

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

  • Muslim-majority countries: Oman (22), Qatar (30), Malaysia (37), the UAE (38), Tunisia (39), Kuwait (46), Morocco (48), Libya (58), Kazakhstan (61), Bahrain (62), Jordan (63), Egypt (73), Syria (77), Indonesia (78), Bangladesh (86), Saudi Arabia (90), Turkey (92), Yemen (95), Iran (97), Azerbaijan (101), Algeria (107), Uzbekistan (110), Lebanon (114), Pakistan (115), and Iraq (121).

    1 comment:

    jamal said...

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