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The World’s Most Peaceful and Dangerous Countries of 2014

geysir-strokkur-sky-landscape-iceland-christian-oeserCountries that are extremely peaceful and those in utter political disarray are subjects of much fascination all across the world. Luckily, the Vision of Humanity came out with their eighth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), a ranking of 162 countries. Considering this list includes 99.6 percent of the world’s population, it should certainly be taken seriously. First, let’s look at the most and least safe nations, and then consider the changes that the GPI shows overtime, in a global perspective.

The rankings are carefully done with many considerations, but they are broadly based on three themes: a) the level of safety and security within that country, b) international or domestic conflicts involved with that country, and c) the country’s level of militarization. Now, let’s look at the safest countries.

The World’s 10 Safest Countries

Europe continued to be the most peaceful region in the world because of a lack of conflicts, both domestic and international. Developed nations within the Asia-Pacific region also did very well, including New Zealand and Japan – both of which were in the top ten – as well as Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, which were also rated as having a very high level of peace, but weren’t in the top 10. The less developed nations in that region did not change much from last year.

iceland flag1) Iceland

denmark flag  2) Denmark

Austria flag3) Austria

NZ flag4) New Zealand

switzerland flag5) Switzerland

finland flag6) Finland

canada flag7) Canada

Japan flag8) Japan

Belgium flag9) Belgium

Norway flag10) Norway

Other Countries of Interest

Very High Levels of Peace

12) Sweden

13) Ireland

15) Australia

17) Germany

18) Portugal

20) Netherlands

22) Qatar

25) Singapore

26) Spain (same rank as Croatia)

28) Taiwan

Quite High Levels of Peace

33) Malaysia

34) Italy

43) Argentina

45) Vietnam

47) United Kingdom

48) France

52) South Korea

54) Indonesia

56) Jordan

75) Cuba

80) Saudi Arabia (same rank as Togo)

Medium Levels of Peace

85) Ecuador

86) Greece

90) Papua New Guinea

91) Brazil

98) Bangladesh

99) Haiti

101) United States of America

107) Jamaica

108) China

116) El Salvador

122) South Africa

126) Thailand (same rank as Tajikistan)

128) Turkey

131) Iran

132) Kenya

Low Levels of Peace

137) Rwanda

138) Mexico

139) Ethiopia

141) Ukraine

143) Egypt

143) India

146) Lebanon

147) Yemen

149) Israel

150) Colombia

151) Nigeria

The World’s Most Dangerous Countries

152) Russia

153) North Korea

154) Pakistan

155) Democratic Republican of the Congo

156) Central African Republic

157) Sudan

158) Somalia

159) Iraq

160) South Sudan

161) Afhganistan

162) Syria


The Global Perspective

The most-improved country from last year was Georgia, jumping from 139th in 2013 to 111th this year. South Sudan, on the other hand, has made the biggest fall, from 143rd to 160th. It’s unfortunate, but South Sudan has deteriorated ever since it became its own state in 2011.

Furthermore, the world has overall became slightly less peaceful since last year. The Middle East continues to have consistent violence (especially in Syria and Afghanistan), and the drug war in Latin America is gradually getting worse. Africa remains generally at the bottom of the list, and some European nations took a hit in the rankings because of their plunging economic situations.

The worst indications of our global peace declining is the increased level of terrorism, increased per capita weapons importing and exporting, and the high number of homicides.

The four indicators that recorded the greatest deterioration over the last seven years are the level of terrorist activity, per capita weapons imports, per capita weapons exports and number of homicides , while the three indicators that have had the greatest improvement are nuclear and heavy weapons capability, per capita number of police and number of armed service personnel

On the other hand, the improvements in peace over the last year were largely associated with the reduction in militarization spending. For example, Europe’s budgetary restrictions forced some rethinking and prioritizing, which was a good thing in at least this one case. Also, the number of armed service personnel and police have been rising per capita, which is seen as a good thing. The premise, in this case, is that policemen are good for national peace. I find this presumption less certain in some of the more corrupt nations.

Also investigated was the economic impact of violence around the world. The global cost was $9.8 trillion. Put another way, that’s a lot of zeroes (look at it like this: $9,800,000,000,000). It adds up to $1,350 for each person on earth.

Perhaps one day, we’ll use that money to feed those people who need it. Maybe…

Or maybe not.

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