Thursday, May 31, 2007

Global Peace Index

Yet another pointless global survey to digest. Lately, it seems everything is reduced to a metric of some kind, measuring previously incalculable things, like happiness. This time it’s the Global Peace Index, which, according to this press release, ranks countries, by: “peacefulness and the drivers that create and sustain their peace.”

And how do SAARC members measure up?

  • Afghanistan (not listed)
  • Bangladesh (86)
  • Bhutan (19)
  • India (109)
  • Maldives (not listed)
  • Nepal (not listed)
  • Pakistan (115)
  • Sri Lanka (111)
If you take out the hermetic kingdom of Bhutan, it’s not an impressive list. Pakistan scores poorly for obvious reasons (Afghanistan, military rule, and Islamic militancy, to name some of the problems), and not because there is a conspiracy to malign it as The Pakistan Observer contends. And I’m not engaging in Pakistan bashing, just pointing out the stupidity of the folks at The Pakistan Observer, who smell conspiracies everywhere but refuse to look in the mirror— for the truth is there for all to see. It’s not like India did all that great. It has its own problems, of course, including insurgencies and terrorism. As does Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I’m surprised, though, that both Afghanistan and Nepal are not even listed given their problems of late.

In the end, you can either take the survey seriously, or with a grain of salt. Not everything about a country can be reduced into neat columns on a spreadsheet (but it would be nice, no?). Personally, I think a lot of people are spending too much time playing with Excel (like myself!) and not enough time observing ground realities. At the same time, I’m not going to dismiss this survey outright, it does seem to utilize a sound methodology.