The Institute for Economics and Peace has come up with a list of the “Safest Countries in the World.”
The Institute uses quantifying metrics to measure peacefulness throughout the world. The organization 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.”
The Institute analyzes 162 nations around the world and looks at various indicators to come up with what they believe are the most peaceful countries. From MSN:
To compile the ranking, the IEP looked at 23 indicators – like violent demonstrations and weapons imports – across three categories: societal safety and security, ongoing domestic and international conflict, and militarization. Collectively, the countries represented make up 99.7% of the world’s population.
Overall, the world became more peaceful in 2017 compared to 2016. In the past year, 93 countries became more peaceful, while 68 countries became less peaceful, according to the index. However, global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.14% since 2008. Some 52% of GPI countries reported a deterioration, while 48% improved.
The US, which ranks at 114 this year, dropped 11 spots from 2016 – the ninth largest drop in the index (and fourth largest since 2005, after Syria, Greece and Hungary).
The top most peaceful countries according to the report were Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, and the Czech Republic.
The least peaceful countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen.
The United States was ranked below countries like Rwanda, Jordan, Cuba, Haiti, and Qatar.
This leaves the methodology a bit questionable since Cuba is a militarized country in which the people living under the Communist regime have zero freedom and are oppressed by a dictator. That kind of puts their metrics into question, don’t you think? Especially since thy use “societal safety and security” as one of their metrics. It’s hard to believe anyone would feel safer in Cuba than the United States.
They hold militarization at an extremely high level of measurement and report that “Although both Israel and the U.S. are amongst the five most militarized countries in the world, they perform much better on the ‘Societal Safety and Security’ domain, ranking in the top 60.”
Clearly, militarization has different meanings if you are in Cuba or Venezuela versus Israel or the United States. Venezuela actually ranked above Israel in the report. Israel is another country that has freedom, the most of any country in the Middle East, while Venezuela is ruled by a dictator and the people have zero freedom.
Essentially, this report is written by people who use metrics that make sense to weigh in some places but not in others. No one is starving in Israel or the United States, nor do they have to worry about being hauled into prison for disagreeing with their government — but both things are happening in Cuba and Venezuela. It doesn’t appear that individual freedom is a part of their metrics.
The Institute seems to be generically trying to fit round pegs into square holes, which makes their report actually quite useless. When you pay attention to international news and understand the horrors that are happening in other parts of the world, then see a report like this that seems to completely ignore that information, it’s hard to take it seriously.
You can see that in the image below – the Institute thinks reducing military and armed forces (assuming police) is an improvement. That may be an improvement in some places but it’s not in others.
You know this organization isn’t about actual freedom for the people living in a country when they have “access to small arms” as one of their metrics of measurement:
Take it for what it’s worth.