Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Global Peace Index Ranks Canada 8th Most Peaceful Country

The first study to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness and the drivers that create and sustain their peace was launched today. The Global Peace Index studied 121 countries [...] 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.

According to the rankings, the 5 most peaceful countries are Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, and Japan. The 5 least peaceful are Nigeria, Russia, Israel, Sudan, and Iraq. The US didn't do so well. At #96 it is right in between Yemen and Iran.

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.

Canada is ranked at #8, with a peacefulness score of 1.481 (on a 5 point scale, with 1 being most peaceful). I'm curious whether this study took into account what Canada have been doing to Haiti, Afghanistan, and our indigenous peoples, not to mention what some Canadian corporations are doing. In any case, I think the relative peacefulness of our country is something to be proud of, and to guard, and to improve upon. In fact, I think we need a war on war. Our goal is to get to #1. Most peaceful country, yo. You're goin down, Norway!

Quotes from the Press Release. Full details on the study and rankings at


TomCat said...

Frankly, #96 was generous for the US.

Stephen said...

Good post.

You can view the Canadian indicators here:

Some seem a bit oddly defined, in my view: percentage of GDP as a measure of military spending isn't necessarily very revealing. As Linda McQuaig points out in her recent book, by that measure Greece looks like a bigger military spender than the USA, but that's obviously not the case.

I also don't understand why military imports/exports are measured by 100,000 people. What does that number have to do with what kind of equipment is being exported from Canada and where it's going? Puzzling.

Very good point about the conduct of Canadian corporations, by the way.