Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Political Instability

These are, as the Chinese might say, interesting times. And, against the backdrop of global economic cardiac arrest, war and terrorism in South and Central Asia and the Middle East, and the chronic malaise of the African continent, ViewsWire takes a look at political instability around the world.



ViewsWire is produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit, which is associated with the eponymous magazine. In this report they've rated countries in terms of their susceptibility to social and political unrest on the basis of quantitative models. They define unrest as
those events or developments that pose a serious extra-parliamentary or extra-institutional threat to governments or the existing political order. The events will almost invariably be accompanied by some violence as well as public disorder. These need not necessarily be successful in the sense that they end up toppling a government or regime. Even unsuccessful episodes result in turmoil and serious disruption.
It's sort of the PECOTA of political instability. Countries are rated on a scale of 0 to 10 (the latter being the highest vulnerability), which is determined by averaging two sub-indexes: the country's underlying vulnerability and an economic distress index. Underlying vulnerability is comprised of measurements of economic inequality; state history (longer-lasting states are considered more stable); corruption; ethnic fragmentation; trust in institutions; discrimination against minorities; history of political instability; history of labor unrest; levels of social provision (as extrapolated from infant mortality rate); the average instability of a country's neighbors; regime type (democracies and full-fledged authoritarian regimes are considered more stable); and political factionalism. The economic distress sub-index is comprised of measurements of growth in GDP per capita; unemployment; and actual GDP per capita.

They've also got a table which ranks the 165 countries they've rated by their instability index. The twelve most unstable are:

1. Zimbabwe - 8.8
2. Chad - 8.5
3. Democratic Republic of Congo - 8.2
4. Cambodia - 8.0
4. Sudan - 8.0
6. Iraq - 7.9
7. Cote d'Ivoire - 7.8
7. Haiti - 7.8
7. Pakistan - 7.8
7. Zambia - 7.8
7. Afghanistan - 7.8
7. Central African Republic - 7.8

And the twelve most stable:

165. Norway - 1.2
164. Denmark - 2.2
163. Canada - 2.8
162. Sweden - 3.2
162. Finland - 3.2
160. Switzerland - 3.4
159. Mauritius - 3.5
159. Costa Rica - 3.5
157. New Zealand - 3.6
157. Luxembourg - 3.6
157. Austria - 3.6
157. Australia - 3.6

Other notables include Russia (66th most unstable country, at 6.5), Mexico (79th, at 6.1), Brazil (105th, at 5.4), France (110th, at 5.3), United States (also 110th, at 5.3), China (124th, at 4.8), and the UK (132nd, at 4.6).

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Grant House said...

Great map. When we look at maps we see political boundries, but I think that is deceiving. Has anyone produced a map that shows the areas with NO civil control?
How much of the world is really "way out there"? In many places I get the feeling governments only control a few cities. I'd like to see such a map.

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