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Peace Talks Radio host Suzanne Kryder talks with Clyde McConaghy, Board
Member of the Institute for Economics and Peace
Suzanne Kryder: What is the Institute for Economics and Peace?
Clyde McConaghy: The Institute is dedicated around defining peace, measuring peace and determining what the economic benefits of non-violence are.
Kryder: How do you define peace?
McConaghy: We define peace as the absence of violence, so there are lots of different definitions, but we wanted something that was clear, simple and also able to be measured.
Kryder: What kind of measurements do you use?
McConaghy: We use measurements within the country and outside the country. So measures within a country would be the homicide rate, incarceration rates, and the level of anticipated violent demonstrations. External measures include military spending, troop deaths from deployments overseas and relationships with neighboring countries.
Kryder: We’re recording the show in 2011 and you’ve just released the results?
McConaghy: The 153 countries that we actually cover off this year, generally speaking the world has become marginally less peaceful in the last 12 months. Certainly there is the activities that have happened in the Middle East and North Africa in the last few months certainly influenced the results because they go up to about the middle of March and so there are countries such as Bahrain and Egypt and Libya that have fallen well down the index, but there are also those that have had difficulties in the past such as Sri Lanka and Thailand and Georgia which two years ago were having internal conflicts that are now the most improved countries in the Global Peace Index.
Kryder: Americans love to know who the winners and losers are. Who were the winners?
McConaghy: Well the winner so to speak is Iceland and Iceland re-achieved number one position. It fell two years ago as a result of the global financial crisis when there were violent demonstrations and it fell from first to fourth which actually on the GPI is quite a significant fall. Nonetheless it bounced back, it showed a lot of resilience, it changed its government, it resettled its society and it goes back to number one. New Zealand is second and Japan is third.
Kryder: What do the countries, say in the top ten, have in common?
McConaghy: Really they are characterized by high levels of education, low levels of internal conflict, low homicide rates, low incarceration rates. They generally have good relationships with their neighbors. They generally don’t have troops deployed in other countries and their deaths from internal conflicts or frustrations within their own society tend to be low.
Kryder: They also tend to be relatively small countries, isn’t that true? Iceland only has 230,000 people so it would be easier to be a peaceful country wouldn’t it?
McConaghy: Well not necessarily. Japan’s got 120 million people, has very difficult relationships with its immediate neighbors, has a very sophisticated economy, not unlike the size of the U.S., not quite but the third biggest economy in the world so it is possible to be very peaceful and a substantial, in that case, G7 nation of the world. Nonetheless Canada is in the top ten as well. It doesn’t have as big a population anywhere nears the U.S. for example, but geographically it’s the second biggest country in the world. So geographic size and population are not necessarily tied to the fact that you might be more or less peaceful.
Kryder: Tell us about the countries who scored at the bottom of the list.
McConaghy: Well at the bottom of the list this year for the first time is Somalia. Previously Iraq has been at the bottom of the last four and indeed the first four iterations of the Global Peace Index. Iraq’s position actually improved slightly in the last 12 months and in fact Somalia’s has worsened somewhat. So the characteristics of those countries are that they have, as one might expect on a Global Peace Index, high levels of internal violence. We make no particular judgment as to whether or not why they’re there in the position that they are, but they do have high levels of battlefield deaths and also civilian deaths. Homicide rates may be high but it’s usually related to military activity. And so those countries have to try and focus on aspects which actually might be able to take them out of the bottom ten of the Global Peace Index.
Kryder: The actual index is a score, right? So tell us about the score because it’s not that we couldn’t get all the countries to a really good score. What’s the range from say Iceland to Somalia in scores?
McConaghy: Okay, in scores, the scores range from one to five so if it was a perfect state it would have a one. In fact it actually could have a ranking of a half because we measure in halves so it’s possible to be 0.5. Nobody has ever achieved that or achieved less than one. At the other end of the scale it goes up to five. The important thing to understand is that places like Iceland and New Zealand and Japan and Canada has rankings at around 1.2 and 1.2 means that of the 23 indicators, they’ve got very close to one, 23 times. On the other end of the scale, the most violent nations of the world have scores around 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4. Now that tells you two things. Firstly that on the 23 indicators, they have many indicators that are around three and four and indeed five in order to get an average that’s over three. However I would also point out, and it’s worth bearing in mind, that there is no country that gets a four or has ever got a four on the GPI. There’s no country that’s even near a five. So whilst we are moving to a great level of peacefulness for countries at the top, things could be considerably worse if the world were to go that way.
Kryder: Well let’s talk about the United States because the U.S. score moved, it improved from 85 to 82. Is that correct?
Kryder: What caused the improvement?
McConaghy: Okay the main improvement was reducing likelihood of violent demonstrations and indeed an improved homicide rate. So the U.S. has actually, relatively speaking, done well, as you say, moved from 85th to 82nd which is a three rank improvement. It’s score, interestingly enough, stayed exactly the same as last year, but if you go back three or four years when we first did the Global Peace Index, the U.S. was ranked 96 out of 120. Now it’s ranked 82nd out of 150. So it’s gone from, let’s call it the bottom quarter, to pretty much in the middle, so that is probably better than any other large economy of the world.
Kryder: What are the main factors that prevent the United States from being even in the top 20?
McConaghy: Well to be in the top 20 there are some factors that the U.S. have which really do drag it down. And I should point out that each of those 23 indicators that I was referring to before have different weights; they’re worth more. Some are worth more than others. They take you down. So where does the U.S. score poorly and where might it improve? As I say, its jail population is very, very high. It’s the highest in the world, not just in per capita terms relevant to its size of population, but in absolute terms it is the highest in the world, so that actually drags it down. Its homicide rate is actually improved over the last decade, but nonetheless remains very, very high; probably two or three times that of any other country in the world and those sorts of factors are internally factors which tend to drag it down. Externally it has clearly very high military spending. It’s about half the worlds’ spending on militaries through the United States, but as importantly, because it deploys its troops around the world and we make no judgment on whether it should or shouldn’t be doing that and it plays a role that other countries benefit from. There’s no doubt about that, but nonetheless it does actually suffer from battlefield deaths as a result of those deployments regardless of the reasons that it happens to be there. So battlefield deaths clearly, on a Global Peace Index are going to pull a country down. So to get to 20 it would need to have some pretty big changes in policy for it to get into say the top 20 or even top 25% of the Global Peace Index.
Kryder: I’m looking at a map here that’s really cool. It shows the 2011 results and it’s all color coded. The very high countries are blue and medium is yellow. So the United States, it’s kind of glaring because we’re looking at – is this on your website by the way?
McConaghy: Yes it is on the website and it is a map that we are pleased about because we can show it to seven year olds or 70 year olds or 17 year olds and everybody understands it. So it is indeed on the website.
Kryder: It’s really glaring because the United States is yellow, which is medium right next door to Canada which is blue. What could the United States learn from Canada?
McConaghy: I’m not sure that I could say what the United States could learn from Canada, but what I would point out is the differences as to how they achieve their rankings on the GPI because I could probably point out Mexico as part of the same continent which is actually orange and well down the rankings from the U.S. So, what could the U.S. do? Well certainly, as I say, incarceration rates, violent crime and homicides. So if the U.S. were to be the same level of peacefulness as Canada, it would be about $360 billion a year better off. How does that manifest itself? We’re talking about real numbers here. There’s $90 billion that is related to the cost of violence so that’s actually not just the cost of actually someone being incarcerated and no longer being able to work and contribute to society, but also the cost of the judiciary and the system that supports it and the cost of policing and all of those legal costs, all of those add up to about $90 billion a year. Then there’s about another $135 billion which accounts for other aspects of costs within society and then we apply what we call a multiplier, which is sort of like a dollar flows around the system, and if a dollar flows around the system it pays for itself several times over. That total comes to $360 billion a year if the U.S. were as peaceful as Canada and that’s only on the internal indicators. That’s externing all military expending and all military activity from that measure. If the U.S. were no advance, we estimate it would be $1.8 trillion.
Kryder: So Clyde, let’s take this down to the individual level and think about the average listener for our program. What can they do? Are there any behavior changes they can make in terms of making the United States more peaceful?
McConaghy: Keep your kids at school longer is number one because the level of enrollment in high school is one of the strongest correlating drivers, correlating relationship drivers between peace and society. So it’s not whether or not they go to tertiary institutions and university and college, it’s actually how long kids stay at school. That’s probably number one. Number two that actually is a very, very strong driver, maybe not at the domestic level with your neighbor, but is corruption in society which is not a big factor in the U.S. as it is in many, many other countries, but that’s actually a very, very strong driver for a lack of peacefulness as well. But the other thing is, and your point is a good one, that it is bringing it down to the local level. It’s getting on with literally your neighbor across the fence a little bit differently and actually starting at – you could say peace begins at home. So if peace begins at home, within the home, then with your immediate neighbors, then with your suburbs and then with your football teams and that sort of thing, so the degree of cohesion. And at a global level we measure the relationships of neighboring countries. Indeed at a local level we know that the relationships with neighboring people and indeed other multicultural groups within society does actually make for a more peaceful society.
Clyde McConaghy Bio: Clyde McConaghy is a Board Director for the Institute for Economics & Peace and has been involved with the development of the Global Peace Index since its inception in 2007. He is group managing director of a group of publicly listed and private companies in the technology, film making, venture capital and charity sectors. He is a board director of an Australian Stock Exchange listed technology company and has served as a board director on a London Stock Exchange listed company, in the field of global business analysis. Clyde McConaghy has two decades of global business management experience, holds two university degrees (Bachelor of Business, The Cranfield MBA) and has lived in Australia, Germany, China and the United Kingdom.
Peace Talks Radio host Suzanne Kryder talks with Steve Killelea, Founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace
Suzanne Kryder: Steve, you’ve created enormously successful businesses. Why should business care about peace?
Steve Killelea: Business needs to care about peace because I think in many ways it’s a lost dimension of one of the things which affect its markets. For example, we’ve done work which has analyzed the global economy and what we found from that is that if we look at last year, 2010, $8 trillion were lost through violence. Now it’s very, very hard to imagine a world which is actually 100% peaceful, but I think we could all imagine a world which is, let’s say, 25% more peaceful and that would equate to $2 trillion. Now just to try and put that into some sort of perspective, that would be enough to pay off Greece, Ireland, Portugal’s debt. It would be enough to fund the carbon emissions, the 20% by 2020 carbon emissions which the EU is after. It would also be enough to pay the Millennium Development Goals and also leave $1 trillion over for additional economic expansion. Now if we look at that and analyze that further and look what would the impact of that be on the U.S. economy, it’s approximately $1.4 trillion just for the U.S. economy alone.
Kryder: Isn’t there sort of an underlying belief that war is good for the economy though?
Killelea: War is good for some sections of the economy in just the same way as crime is also good for some sections of the economy. There are other parts of the economy which suffer substantial losses from war or from violence. Now this is not to say that let’s make a moral judgment that we don’t need police or that we don’t need an army. We certainly need a strong, robust army, but the question is what is the size and what is it trying to accomplish?
Kryder: President Eisenhower talked about a Military-Industrial Complex, that a lot of the economy was building up around the military. What’s your vision of a peace industrial economy? How could we develop that?
Killelea: Well we came up with a concept of the peace industries and we all know what the Military-Industrial complex is. A lot of people know the size of it and its relevance to the economy, even the major companies within it, but if I talk to you about peace industries, well, most people would start to think about maybe some NGOs, maybe some Buddhist monks selling incense or something like that, but actually peace industries are all those companies and businesses whose markets actually expand with increasing peacefulness and whose cost structures decrease. Now we did a survey with the UN Global Compact and they did a survey of their Chief Executive Officers and CFOs who were members, and they’ve got some thousands as members, in the survey sample, 80% believed the size of their markets increase with increased peacefulness and 79% believed their costs actually decreased as you increase peace.
Kryder: Why would the costs decrease?
Killelea: Well there’s a whole lot of inherent friction trapped in an economy because of violence. I’ll just give you a couple of really classic examples. One, we’ll think about shopping. Now if you’re in the middle of a war zone, who wants to go out shopping? So if you actually decrease the violence, people are more likely to end up shopping. Whereas in a highly peaceful neighborhood that would be the way you might spend a leisurely afternoon. Similarly, security comes at a cost. You’ve got security grilles, you’ve got security guards, cameras and all sorts of other things as well. Now, if we start to also look at management time, if management has got a lot of violence involved in the business in which they’re operating, that’s lost management time which goes towards trying to cope with day-to-day issues rather than trying to compete better against their opposition or alternately aim at trying to strategically grow their markets. Another example which is just really quite practical; look at New York today. You go into any meeting in New York and you lose five to ten minutes with the security guards downstairs. Now how many meetings actually happen in New York a day? Ten million? Multiply that by five to ten minutes and that’s a substantial amount of money.
Kryder: Steve Killelea, give us some examples of peace industries. What businesses would those be?
Killelea: Well I think peace industries really – look at the computer industries. You could say they all sort of supply violence containment industries as well, but the bulk of what they do really goes into businesses which aren’t related to violence containment; insurance, banking, tourism would be a classic example, just to name some.
Steve Killelea bio: Steve Killelea is an Australian IT entrepreneur and creative force behind the Global Peace Index study, launched in May 1997, that attempts to rank the world's nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. The Index is endorsed by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter. He is the founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace which analyzes the impact of peace on sustainability, defines the 'Peace Industry', and uncovers the social structures and social attitudes that are at the core of peaceful societies. He is also notable as being Australia's largest individual donor to overseas aid. He also sits on the advisory board of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. In August 1988, Killelea formed the Australian company Integrated Research, which was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000. The company's main business is systems management for international corporations such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express; the New York, London and Hong Kong stock exchanges; and most of the world's ATMs. Having stepped down as chief executive November 2004, he is still chairman of the company that now branches into the field of internet telephony.
Suzanne Kryder: You have studied and written about women entrepreneurs in a variety of conflict and post-conflict zones including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda. What have you learned about their role in building peace?
Gayle Lemmon: I’ve learned really that women matter and they matter for a couple of reason, particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings. You know first of all, they’re the population you have left after war. Second of all, a lot of times women are left as heads of household because of conflict, right? War leaves them in charge of families often for the first time. And the third reason I think they matter is because if you get to women, you can get to children because when women have money coming into the household, they support both their boys and their girls to go to school. So it doesn’t have to be an either or between boys and girls. So it’s really about the next generation and I think often times women entrepreneurs are really overlooked and not studied or paid attention to because they’re not really in the mainstream of media or networks and in the question of who’s at the table, and really what I wanted to show with this work is that they certainly exist and they really are allies in building more stable communities.
Kryder: Talk more about that. How can we help them be allies in building stable communities?
Lemmon: I think there are a couple of questions. I think first of all on a governmental level it’s sort of putting pressure in some ways on elected officials to make sure that your government pays attention to women when it comes to peace building because few than 10% of peace agreements have women actually involved or signing them. Think about that. It’s almost as if women face a penalty for not having picked up a gun; they don’t get a say in the war and then they don’t get a say in the peace. I think women exist really stabilizing roles; supporting families, starting businesses and yet they’re still often overlooked. So I think asking your government to pay attention to them. And then the second way is to look at ways that people on the individual level can get involved whether that’s working with organizations that help build skills or whether that’s organizations that work on the ground to help support financially woman and business women in particular in tough parts of the world.
Kryder: What are some specific ways that you would like governments to pay attention to women in conflict zones?
Lemmon: Well I think that it’s a question of just what governments can do. First all, they can make sure that women exist when it comes to having discussions about peace. I covered in July of 2010, the Kabul Conference in Afghanistan and quite literally, the day before the conference, they head of the UN agency there in Afghanistan said, “You’re completely right” to this group of women. “We totally overlooked your contributions and we forgot about women when it came to thinking about speaking roles in the Kabul Conference.” Think about this, women have somehow managed to be both half the population and a special interest group which is pretty mathematically challenging when you think about that. So I think it’s making sure first of all that women are at the table. And then I think second of all it’s how do you get skills and resources to women who are supporting their families economically? And that can be in the form of training, but training that is attached to markets. It’s not enough to just train women. There has to be a customer at the end of that training. And then it’s also doing things like helping women get access to finance, access to markets, access to networks and I think all of that can be done.
Kryder: Gayle, what can our listeners learn and what can they do to get more involved in helping women entrepreneurs in war-torn countries?
Lemmon: Well you know, on my website at gaylelemmon.com I have a list of organizations that people can reach out to. It’s also in the back of the book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana if people are interested in getting involved. Some organizations work with women entrepreneurs. Some organizations work with women who are victims of domestic violence. Some work with getting women education and literacy training. So people can really take it and look themselves and see what might be the most interesting for them to get involved with. The Dressmaker’s message I really think was to remind people that there are unsung heroines all around us and especially in very tough parts of the world and that there are women who, like these young women in Afghanistan under the Taliban years, took incredible obstacles and found opportunity and I think if people really want to get involved in Afghanistan in particular, reach out to your local officials; to your members of Congress, to your Senators and say that it matters that women have a seat at the table because I think in Afghanistan in particular there is a sense in Washington that Americans just want out of this war. They don’t really care how and they don’t really care when as long as it’s soon and then that means that people are really wrestling with all of these issues and if people show that they care, I do think that they can really have an impact.
Kryder: Gayle, what about women entrepreneurs in the United States? Now the United States ranked in the 80s in the Peace Index. Again, I’m not saying that women entrepreneurs can turn around the entire United States peace ranking, but what role do women play here in our country?
Lemmon: I think women play a role both domestically and also internationally. I think first of all they are doing the same thing that they do everywhere around the world which is starting businesses for the sake of their families and to make sure that their own future and their families futures are brighter and I think that is universal. One of the things that has moved me personally so much when The Dressmaker became a bestseller was I couldn’t figure out who it was that this was speaking to and then I started getting all these notes from women entrepreneurs in the U.S. that said to me this book showed me that if these young women could overcome the obstacles they face, then the dispiriting ones that I face everyday can’t be that bad and that meant so much to me because I think so often women underestimate the power to create change that they posses. They’re so beaten up by the day and by the obstacles and by the barriers that they forget that they are really agents of change who have an enormous power to make a difference and I think it really does make a difference because when women are at the table and involved economically in this country, then they get a say in making sure that women are at the table and involved economically in other countries because otherwise women get left out and they get forgotten and when women are there at the table saying other women should be heard, that makes a difference.
Gayle Lemmon bio: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Gayle is the New York Times best selling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program. Prior to joining the Council, Ms. Lemmon covered public policy and emerging markets for the global investment firm PIMCO, after working for nearly a decade as a journalist with the ABC News Political Unit and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Gayle has reported on entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict regions for the Financial Times, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Daily Beast, and Christian Science Monitor, along with Ms. Magazine, Bloomberg, Politico and the Huffington Post. Gayle earned a BA in journalism summa cum laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and an MBA from Harvard Business School.A former Fulbright scholar and Robert Bosch Foundation fellow, she serves on the board of the International Center for Research on Women.