According to the new map released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Maine is the most peaceful state while Louisiana is the least peaceful.
The result is generated by 5 different indicators; the number of homicides, number of violent crimes, the incarceration rate, number of police employees and the availability of small arms.
Do you agree with this conclusion? What do you think?
The absence of any consideration of U.S. military activity in the rest of the world gives these findings a surreal, almost hallucinatory quality. What is that thing called "the United States" referred to in the title, if it excludes the activity of the very institutions that define it and make of it a unity (the branches of government, the military, etc.)? Truly bizarre, and so lacking in credibility as to be actually quite offensive.
Hi John - The United States Peace Index is a measure of internal levels of peacefulness for U.S. states and metropolitan areas, using 5 internal indicators. It is based on The Global Peace Index, which has (since 2007), ranked countries according to their levels of peacefulness, based on 23 internal and external indicators. A sample of these 23 indicators includes military expenditure, armed forces rate, relations with neighboring countries, deaths from organized external conflicts, total (external) conflicts, military capability, weapons exports, among others. In the 2011 Global Peace Index, the United States ranked 82 out of 153 countries.
The U.S. ranking on the Global Peace Index, as well as the full list of indicators, can be found here: http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/#/2011/scor/US/detail
The U.S. Peace Index is the first in a series of national peace indices meant to explore peace metrics at a regional level, uncover spatial differences in peacefulness, provide an analysis of the socio-economic measures that are associated with peace within a district, and estimate the cost of violence and the economic benefits of increasing peacefulness.
Thanks for the response. The indicators for the global index make much more sense, and I think the disparity between those and the indicators for the "internal" index noted above highlights what's wrong with the latter. The global study focuses (correctly) not on bounded geographical territories - which is effectively how individual US States are treated by the internal study - but on states as international actors, including the range of institutions and actions through which their relative peacefulness vis-a-vis other actors is manifested. That is, the global study tacitly (and correctly) recognises that a study of "peacefulness" can't meaningfully abstract from international engagements. But the individual "States" of the United States don't have "international engagements" in the relevant sense; they don't participate as full-fledged actors in international affairs. One can study them at that level of resolution, of course, but it strains credibility to see how such a study can be presented as showing anything meaningful about "peacefulness"; one is effectively just studying the security dimension of quality of life for residents of individual US States. In doing so, one is also *eliding* the very real consequences for people in other parts of the world from those contributions to foreign violence that are being made by residents of those States. To have credibility as an index of *peacefulness* at that level of resolution - at the level of the individual States - such a study would have to factor in each State's contributions - financial, personnel, etc. - to those foreign wars being waged by the national institutions that purport to represent them on the international stage.