There’s a lot of talk these days about inequality of income, less about inequality of war. But such a disparity not only exists but is widening, according to a new report by the Australia-based Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).
The 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), which relies on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure the existence or fear of violence in a given country, includes a number of interesting findings: violent conflicts in 2014 cost the world an estimated $14 trillion (the equivalent of the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom); the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) is at its highest level since the Second World War; the United States places a middling 94 out of 162 in the report’s ranking of “most peaceful” states.
But the clean ranking masks a messier reality. “The least peaceful countries are getting less and less peaceful, and they’re stuck in what appears to be vicious cycles,” Aubrey Fox, IEP’s executive director, told me. The study found that the 20 least peaceful countries have only become less so in recent years. Meanwhile, the most peaceful countries are experiencing increasing levels of peace, revealing “inequality with peace,” according to Steve Killelea, IEP’s chief executive. Killelea “said some countries in Western Europe had now reached ‘quite historic levels of peace,’ enjoying the lowest levels of murder rates and money spent on security ‘probably in the countries’ history,’” the BBC reported.