The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has released their 5th annual Global Peace
Index. An independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit international research institute, the IEP partners with organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University to ‘build a greater understanding of the interrelationships between business, peace and economics with particular emphasis on the economic benefits of peace.’
Using 23 indicators, such as a country’s level of organized conflict, its weapons imports and exports, its military expenditure, its number of conflicts fought, the proportion of its population jailed, its internal and external deaths from conflict, its level of violent crime, its number of homicides, and its number of displaced people, the IEP ranks 153 countries according to their overall peacefulness.
This year, the world’s most peaceful countries are:
2. New Zealand
5. Czech Republic
The IEP reports that with the majority of its countries ranking in the top twenty, Western Europe remains the most peaceful region of the world for the fifth consecutive year. Four Nordic countries ranked in the top ten. The United States ranks 82nd out of the 153 countries evaluated.
According to the IEP, ‘if the world had been 25% more peaceful over the past year, the global economy would have reaped an additional economic benefit of just over US$2 trillion. This amount would pay for the 2% of global GDP per annum investment estimated by the Stern Review to avoid the worst effects of climate change, cover the cost of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, eliminate the public debt of Greece, Portugal and Ireland, and address the one-off rebuilding costs of the most expensive natural disaster in history – the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.’
With this information, perhaps it is finally time to actually give peace a chance. Yes, there are structures of war throughout the world that would be very difficult to change, but if we don’t at least try, people will continue to kill others in the name of some just cause or another, causing the downstream effects of worn torn economies, grieving families, and poor international relations that will only guarantee continued conflict.