Thursday, May 31, 2007

Something to be proud of

New Zealand is the second most peaceful contry in the world, according to Vision of Humanity's inaugural Global Peace Index. We were pipped for the top spot by Norway, due to our higher crime rate. By contrast, Australia came in 25th place, the UK 49th, and the US 96th, just one place ahead of its next victim, Iran. The bottom country was (of course) Iraq, followed by Sudan and Israel.

The big trend visible immediately from the map is that Europe is (for once in its history) overwhelmingly peaceful. Which I think shows both the lesson learned from the first and second world wars, and the value of the EU as an institution in preventing future conflicts amongst its members.


I'd be interested to see their criteria.

Kenya worse than India?
South Africa worse than Mozambique?

Posted by Rich : 5/31/2007 12:57:00 PM

Rich: The full rankings are here. You can check any country's internal scores. South Africa v Mozambique seems to be the level of violent crime and social breakdown; India v Kenya seems to be about the number (and death toll of) internal and external conflicts.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/31/2007 01:04:00 PM

South Africa has an incredibly high crime rate, which is dragging it down. It's arguable that their position is hurt as much by having a functioning system to record the occurrence, of course, but murder is still an everyday and common occurrence.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 01:09:00 PM

Zimbabwe at 106th? Maybe there is something i am missing in thinking that it is worse than israel. At least israel is democratic.

It looks like it concerns only the death toll of internal conflicts, as opposed to a 'toll' in teh wider sense (economic/social etc...)

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 02:33:00 PM

It's very weird statistics. Unbalanced or biased one, I should say. Millions of peoples are getting killed in Africa (Congo, Ruanda, Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia, Algeria, Arab Palestinians etc) and Asia (Afghanistan, Malaysia etc.) and South America. Crimes rate in Western Europe is much higher that this in Israel. So, one should think that the only "fault" of Israel is fighting back terrorism.

If there ever one chooses a place to walk alone safe at night is Tel Aviv Israel, which is safer that walking in Holland, Finland or France at the middle of the day!

In that case I suggest to Israel to increase efforts in order to get the 121 rank !!!!!

Abe Bird

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 04:08:00 PM

Any donkey can make a graph and paint themselves look the best and others as they want or worse and make others believe.

We all know EU, UN, Com.Wealth, NGO's, Human Rights and the do good organisations are nothing but trade and political institutions which promote the interest of powerful nations and multinations.


No one went to defend two innocent lawyers locked up by military in Fiji. If were EU that's it ALL AID TO FIJI WOULD BE BANNED.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 05:33:00 PM

It seems to combine too many measures to make intuitive sense.. after-all Zimbabwae is MORE peaceful than India?

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 06:17:00 PM

'Capitalism's such a bitch.'said one of the Anons.

As logical deduction goes that is perhaps a rather broad leap. You are taking it as a given that capitalism is an essential first step towards peace and absence of conflict. Maybe Anon can give us some historical examples demonstrating the truth of that assertion.

I would suggest that capitalist economic structures cannot begin to be set up until there is security in the community policed by rules and laws that are widely accepted by that community.

Peace comes first in other words.

I would also point out that the US, arguably the world's most capitalist country, has unilaterally started two wars in the last five years.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 06:46:00 PM

It's a fair bet that some of those not included (Belarus, North Korea DR Congo, Somalia, Nepal, Turkmenistan) are easily at the bottom either due to near anarchy, civil war or totalitarianism which means there is only peace out of sheer state terror.

Posted by Libertyscott : 5/31/2007 10:14:00 PM

I've no idea how valid this survey is.

What I do know is that if it had Australia in 2nd place and New Zealand in 25th, then it would be cited as incontrovertible "proof" that we are A Country Going Down The Drain, and would be accompanied by banner headlines, questions in the House, talkback tirades, editorials wailing and gnashing, blah blah blah ...

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2007 11:00:00 PM

In case it wasn't clear from the title, this is a map of peace - not a map of democracy, of zionism, or of "which country we like the most". Countries do well for not maintaining large standing armies, not fighting wars with their neighbours, not fighting civil wars, and for having non-violent, stable societies. On any of these measures, Israel does rather poorly, which is why it ranks near the bottom. Non-militarist countries which aren't involved in constant armed conflict (like New Zealand) OTOH do rather well. And Zimbabwe does a little bit (0.035 points!) better than India because while it does not respect human rights nearly as much, it has fought rather fewer wars recently and doesn't have nuclear weapons (something measured in the "Military capability/sophistication" category).

For those of you interested in causes, there's a list of correlations here. No driver seems to be correlated with external peace - with whether a country invades its neighbours - though there are a lot of correlations with internal peace (and therefore with overall ranking). GDP per capita and having a functioning government seem to make countries more peaceful; hating foreigners, being religious, and being in a poorly integrated region seems to make them more dangerous. Of course, correlation is not causation, and for some of these measures the causation probably flows the other way, or in both directions.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/01/2007 12:04:00 AM

So how is the U.S. not red?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/01/2007 09:48:00 AM

The wars the US has started recently are not with its immediate neighbours...

Posted by Simon : 6/02/2007 08:26:00 AM

The US wars on its own population apparently don't count either. The "war on some drugs" and the "war on terror" which are still being fought against the US population don't appear to have changed their stats...

Posted by Moz : 6/02/2007 08:01:00 PM

Of course for the anti-Americans here, the war the Chinese government constantly wages on dissenters doesn't count either.

The "war on drugs" is just as big an issue in NZ and Australia.

Posted by Libertyscott : 6/03/2007 02:06:00 AM

And the arguments of the America-can-do-no-wrong crowd only work when they're putting words in other people's mouths.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/09/2007 10:37:00 AM