"But, how?" you may ask, did it do that.
The annual assessment of the world as it is is a product of the prestigious Institute for Economics and Peace, (IEP). The institute describes itself as; "an international research institute dedicated to building a greater understanding of the inter-relationships between business, peace and economics, with a particular emphasis on the economic benefits of peace."
Besides the surprising business economics of peace, (and particularly the emphasis on the economic benefits of peace) a notion running contrary to the traditional concept of war, or un-peace, as particularly economically beneficial to some, the Institute possesses too a curious provenance.
Born in 2007, the IEP is the product of a union between Sydney, Australia and New York City non-partisan, not-for-profit partnerships and various agencies, clubs, and institutes, hosted by various universities and business schools.
To emphasize its dedication to these two-fold goals, AI hosts on its Board of Directors some of the planet's preeminent proponents of peace and economics. The tone is set by Chair, Madeleine Albright, described as the: "Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets."
No peace so complete as the grave, verily.
Joining Madeleine on the board are a veritable galaxy of foundation doyens, steely-eyed CEO's and financial officers from companies like Goldman Sachs, a smattering of academe's brightest lights, some politicos, and David Koch, most famously half of Koch Industries' Koch brothers.
Beyond the credibility gap the hosts of Establishment defenders populating the various boards, think tanks, and institutes comprising the IEP represent, I wondered simply how they came up with the Canada numbers.
Greetings IEP; I read your analysis of my home country, Canada in a local paper with astonishment today. Thinking there was some mistake, I looked you up online. So far, your site seems a bit opaque. Who are you, and by what standard do you make your assessments is what I'm curious about?
Canada has, over the life of your organization, transformed its military into an aggressive war fighting institution. It is overtly involved in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, and Libya, while supporting the state violence of both the United States and Israel in the Occupied Palestinian territories. It responded favourably to the 2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israel, remaining silent as that country killed four UN peacekeepers, (one of them being Canadian), and supports the American occupation of Iraq, (and of course Afghanistan) while supporting too US aggression in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The extreme brutality Canadian police exhibited in 2010 during the G20 meetings in Toronto was unprecedented in the history of the country, seeing more than 1,000 peaceful demonstrators arrested on spurious charges, and held in the most deplorable conditions. There is too, as of this date, but a single charge of excessive force filed concerning this black day in the history of Canadian civil governance.
More than a billion dollars is reported to have been devoted to G20 "security" operations, monies yet to be properly accounted for. Canada's government has too dramatically increased military spending over this same period, and now stands as the only country outside the US willing to spend billions on the controversial F-35 fighter jet. Meanwhile, 160 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and the government here refuses still to reveal how many Afghanis it has killed, maimed, and turned over to American and Afghani forces to be imprisoned, tortured, and murdered in custody.
Rarely mentioned in this country too is Canada's involvement in the Haitian coup d'etat that ousted the democratically elected, and wildly popular, president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, or Canada's tacit support for the violent overthrow of the Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya.This is not a complete list by any means: Canadian Forces (CF) was involved covertly in the Iraq war, the Canadian Navy too supporting America's illegal invasion of that country, and even now quietly provide logistic and diplomatic aid to efforts to foment further war against Iran. The country's secretive spy agency CSIS operates with complete impunity, while JTF2, a commando-styled assassination outfit, operates beyond civilian oversight.
Again, I ask; "Who are you, and what is your methodology?"
Pacific Free Press
The picture this all paints is hardly one of a nation pursuing, or even mildly interested in, peace. It is instead, sadly, a portrait of a militarist state, captured into the service of elite corporate interests, and willing to kill, maim, and terrorize any who stand in the way of its economic imperatives. And the Institute for Economics and Peace, in its elevating of Canada on its index is revealed as a disingenuous cheerleader, in true Orwellian form, for war in the guise of peace.
But, it's not like the folks at IEP don't recognize peace when they see it. Executive Chairman and founder, Steve Killelea notes of this year's index release;
"The fall in this year’s index is strongly tied to conflict between citizens and their governments; nations need to look at new ways of creating stability other than through military force."
Thank you for your email and for taking the time to investigate our research – we appreciate the dialogue.
The Institute is independent, not-for-profit and non-partisan. All of our research methodology and our organizational background is available at either our website www.economicsandpeace.org or our associated website, www.visionofhumanity.org
The methodology paper for the 2011 GPI is available here:
There you can get detailed information on how we calculate the index, the names of our expert advisory panel, as well as details of the work we do with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Each of the 153 countries are scored on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators which come from a variety of well-respected sources. Sources and scoring ranges for the indicators are available in that methodology paper.
§ We have 8 indicators on militarization and 5 measures on ongoing domestic and external conflict. These are both quantitative and qualitative measures which are calculated on a relative basis. On several of these measures Canada scores the best possible score (1). For example, some not limited to:
o Military expenditure as a % of GDP (between 1.2% to 1.5% of GDP) This is comparatively low versus other developed nations.
o Meeting funding commitments for UN peacekeeping missions (1 out of 5)
o Number of armed service personnel per 100,000 people (1 out of 5)
o Imports of conventional weapons (1 out of 5)
o Number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people (1 out of 5)
§ Conversely Canada’s score is appropriated negatively affected by;
o Relative high level of military sophistication (3)
o Ease of access for small arms (2)
o Number of deaths from organised conflict (2) (a nation that has over 1000 battle deaths scores a 3)
o Number of external and internal conflict fought (1.5)
On the issue of the G20 meeting – Canada this year had its score for likelihood for violent demonstrations decline from 1 to 1.5, impacting the peace score negatively.
All of the issues you refer to only constitute 40% of the total weighting, while the remaining 60% is based on the internal peace score – here Canada fares quite well in comparison to other nations. i.e. number of homicides, level of violent crime, number of displaced people in the population, and political instability all scoring well in relation to other developed nations. Please bear in mind the scores reflect relative placement and are not expressions of ‘ideal’ levels of peace. We ultimately do this work to start a positive discussion on how we can constructively and collectively build a more peaceful world.
I hope you can read our methodology and that this information is helpful.
Research ManagerInstitute for Economics and Peace (IEP)