T Nation

Global Peace Index Rankings

http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/results/rankings/2008/

It looks good for Europe. It’s hard for me to say anything because I haven’t been further south than Sweden and Denmark for ages.
US is not doing so great. It’s the deployment of troops ond constant warring, I guess.

How is Canada more peaceful than Jamaica? What war is Jamaica fighting now?

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
How is Canada more peaceful thna Jamaica? What war is Jamaica fighting now?[/quote]

According to the (EDIT:) site the indicators are:
Measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict
Measures of societal safety and security
Measures of militarization

I don’t know, but I’ll venture to guess, that Canada beats Jamaica in the second group of indicators. Or actually, Canada loses because they measure ‘absence of peace’.

Interesting - but ultimately I’m not sure what this tells you. There seems to be an awful lot of subjective opinion baked into this, and then it’s assigned a number to make it look objective.

Here’s their methodology:

http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/about-gpi/methodology.php

[i]Methodology and Data Sources

The indicators

Twenty-four indicators of the existence or absence of peace were chosen by the panel, which are divided into three key thematic categories. Many of the indicators have been “banded” on a scale of 1-5; qualitative indicators in the index have been scored by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s extensive team of country analysts, and gaps in the quantitative data have been filled by estimates. Indicators of quantitative data such as military expenditure or jailed population have been normalised on the basis of:

x = (x-Min(x)) / (Max (x) - Min (x))

Where Min (x) and Max (x) are respectively the lowest and highest values in the 140 countries for any given indicator. The normalised value is then transformed from a 0-1 value to a 1-5 score to make it comparable with the other indicators.

Measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict

The Global Peace Index is intended as a review of the state of peace in nations over the past year, although many indicators are based on available data from the last two years. The advisory panel decided against including data reflecting a country’s longer-term historical experience of domestic and international conflict on the grounds that the GPI uses authoritative statistics on ongoing civil and trans-national wars collated by institutes such as the Uppsala Conflict Data Program and the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. These, combined with two indicators scored by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s analysts, comprise five of the 24 indicators.

* Number of external and internal conflicts fought: 2001-06
* Estimated number of deaths from organised conflict (external)
* Number of deaths from organised conflict (internal)
* Level of organised conflict (internal)
* Relations with neighbouring countries

Measures of societal safety and security

Ten of the indicators assess the levels of safety and security in a society (country), ranging from the level of distrust in other citizens, to the level of respect for human rights and the rate of homicides and violent crimes. Crime data is from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Five of these indicators have been scored by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s team of country analysts.

* Level of distrust in other citizens
* Number of displaced people as a percentage of the population
* Political instability
* Level of disrespect for human rights (Political Terror Scale)
* Potential for terrorist acts
* Number of homicides per 100,000 people
* Level of violent crime
* Likelihood of violent demonstrations
* Number of jailed population per 100,000 people
* Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people

Measures of militarization

Nine of the indicators are related to a country’s military build-up - reflecting the assertion that the level of militarization and access to weapons is directly linked to how at peace a country feels internationally. Comparable data are readily available from sources such as the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).

* Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP
* Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people
* Volume of transfers (imports) of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people
* Volume of transfers (exports) of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people
* UN Deployments 2007-08 (percentage of total armed forces)
* Non-UN Deployments 2007-08 (percentage of total armed forces)
* Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people
* Ease of access to small arms and light weapons
* Military capability/sophistication

Weighting the index

The advisory panel apportioned scores based on the relative importance of each of the indicators on a 1-5 scale. Two sub-component weighted indices were then calculated from the GPI group of indicators, 1) a measure of how at peace a country is internally; 2) a measure of how at peace a country is externally (its state of peace beyond its borders). The overall composite score and index was then formulated by applying a weight of 60% to the measure of internal peace and 40% for external peace. The heavier weight applied to internal peace was agreed within the advisory panel, following robust debate. The decision was based on the innovative notion that a greater level of internal peace is likely to lead to, or at least correlate with, lower external conflict - in other words, if �??charity begins at home’ - so might peace.

GPI Year-on-Year Comparison

The expansion of the GPI from 121 countries to 140 does not lend itself to direct comparisons of changes in rank as the introduction of a number of countries instantly pushes various countries downwards. The normalisation of a number of our series for our index also makes direct year-on-year comparisons difficult as the normalised series essentially measure countries in direct reference to their respective differences for that given time period (maximums and minimums will differ between the 2007 GPI measurements and 2008).

Nevertheless, we have developed a special comparative version of the Global Peace Index in 2008 for the original 121 countries. The comparison excludes new 2008 countries.[/i]

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Interesting - but ultimately I’m not sure what this tells you. [/quote]

It tells you that involvement in a conflict and warfare is the thing that cost you points.
I would like to see this comparison without the effect of Iraq. For example, in US the likelihood of violent crime is 1, i.e. lowest possible, but the number of jailed population per 100,000 people is 5, highest possible. Of the top 20 countries Chile has the highest number of jailed population per 100,000 people, 2.226. I find these comparisons interesting in the light of some of the recent discussions about police and justice on this forum.

EDIT: added Chile

The only thing that matters is how the citizens of those countries feel about where they live. I couldn’t care less about how peaceful some other country is that will never see me as a citizen. Funny that there were no measures for the size of government/bureaucracy that have, historically, been the biggest cause of disturbances of peace.

Show me a nation with the least amount of government and I will show you peace. I am thinking some independent island nation somewhere in the Pacific – literacy be damned.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
The only thing that matters is how the citizens of those countries feel about where they live. I couldn’t care less about how peaceful some other country is that will never see me as a citizen. Funny that there were no measures for the size of government/bureaucracy that have, historically, been the biggest cause of disturbances of peace.

Show me a nation with the least amount of government and I will show you peace. I am thinking some independent island nation somewhere in the Pacific – literacy be damned.[/quote]

When you click on a country you get more precice indicators and values. The value for the functioning of government is 7.9 for US (1-10).

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Show me a nation with the least amount of government and I will show you peace. [/quote]

Somalia

What is the difference between a functioning despotic government and TOTALITARIAN mobsters who are fighting for control of the State? There is none as far as I can determine.

A Strong, individually armed Somali defending himself and his family/tribe is the only way to engender peace in Somalia. I do not see a governmental solution to this problem.

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/results/rankings/2008/

It looks good for Europe. It’s hard for me to say anything because I haven’t been further south than Sweden and Denmark for ages.
US is not doing so great. It’s the deployment of troops ond constant warring, I guess.[/quote]

Now why is Iceland #1 and Finland #8? Is it because of all those damn mosquitos you have there in Finland causing conflict?

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

What is the difference between a functioning despotic government and TOTALITARIAN mobsters who are fighting for control of the State? There is none as far as I can determine.

A Strong, individually armed Somali defending himself and his family/tribe is the only way to engender peace in Somalia. I do not see a governmental solution to this problem.[/quote]

Look, I have no idea what the solution for somalia might be, but if I understand this correctly, Somalia is already full of individually armed somalis. By that criteria, the problems should already have been solved.

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Show me a nation with the least amount of government and I will show you peace.

Somalia

[/quote]

This is the logical result of a nation with any significant population and no government.

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
…if I understand this correctly, Somalia is already full of individually armed somalis.[/quote]

No, it isn’t. The mafia organizations (juntas) ensure that individual Somalis cannot defend themselves and therefore will be dependent on said mafia for their protection (just how every government usurps its control). The average, non-politically connected Somali does not own a firearm nor do they have means to procure them. Furthermore, Somali men are pressured to take sides so that their families can be protected thus legitimizing these juntas.

It is a precarious situation that will only be solved with a very violent revolution. It will be interesting to see how the resulting power vacuum will be handled – my guess is that any group able to gain power will not allow the people to go back to its tribal heritage. I am not hopeful for any stability in the near future.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

This is the logical result of a nation with any significant population and no government.[/quote]

Technically speaking, Somalia has many governments struggling for control. That is the problem. All of them want legitimacy but none have the strength to take it absolutely.

[quote]entheogens wrote:

Now why is Iceland #1 and Finland #8? Is it because of all those damn mosquitos you have there in Finland causing conflict?

[/quote]

Because of the warm winter, summer should yield many mosquitoes. If you are right, we will fall down on the index next year.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
kaaleppi wrote:
…if I understand this correctly, Somalia is already full of individually armed somalis.

No, it isn’t. The mafia organizations (juntas) ensure that individual Somalis cannot defend themselves and therefore will be dependent on said mafia for their protection (just how every government usurps its control). The average, non-politically connected Somali does not own a firearm nor do they have means to procure them. Furthermore, Somali men are pressured to take sides so that their families can be protected thus legitimizing these juntas.

It is a precarious situation that will only be solved with a very violent revolution. It will be interesting to see how the resulting power vacuum will be handled – my guess is that any group able to gain power will not allow the people to go back to its tribal heritage. I am not hopeful for any stability in the near future.[/quote]

I can understand what you are saying here, but I still don’t fully understand why you talked about a fictitious Somalia where every individual is armed and and the land prosperous and free.

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
I can understand what you are saying here, but I still don’t fully understand why you talked about a fictitious Somalia where every individual is armed and and the land prosperous and free.[/quote]

It is only fictitious in that freedom and prosperity is not a current reality in Somalia. Prosperity and freedom can only exist where people have dominion over their own lives, liberty and property. This idea contains the notion of self defense.

The freest (most prosperous) societies on earth exist where government is kept in check by the possibility of revolt from armed citizens – and these are usually the most peaceful societies as well.

From what I can determine from the posted link, the nation of Iceland, for example, is peaceful because the government is kept small (citizens can easily overpower the government) and there is no class warfare – it seems like a paradise relative to many nations on the planet.

Hey, Iceland fits my model of a small island nation with relatively no government – and it is peaceful, prosperous, and free. But who besides Icelanders want to live in the cold, bloody dark for 8 months out of the year…?

Number of jailed population per 100,000 people 5
Respect for human rights 3
Importance of religion in national life 4

In these 3 factors the US are dead last in the western world, maybe thats something to work on.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
How is Canada more peaceful than Jamaica? What war is Jamaica fighting now?[/quote]

Because of the gangs in Kingston, Jamaica has one of the highest murders per capita in the world.

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Interesting - but ultimately I’m not sure what this tells you.

It tells you that involvement in a conflict and warfare is the thing that cost you points.
I would like to see this comparison without the effect of Iraq. For example, in US the likelihood of violent crime is 1, i.e. lowest possible, but the number of jailed population per 100,000 people is 5, highest possible. Of the top 20 countries Chile has the highest number of jailed population per 100,000 people, 2.226. I find these comparisons interesting in the light of some of the recent discussions about police and justice on this forum.

EDIT: added Chile[/quote]

There might just be a causal relationship there…