Monday, June 18, 2007

2007 Failed States Index Released

The Fund for Peace published its most recent list of failed states. Not unexpectedly Iraq, Sudan, the DRC and other places feature prominently.
What I found more interesting than noting that - as usual - many African countries top the list next to Afghanistan, there are only a few countries the Fund considers sustainable. Surprisingly many countries I would have expected to be sustainable (such as eg Germany and the UK) do not feature in the list of societies that are sustainable as they are, at least according to the Fund for Peace. On the other hand, countries like Canada (with its US like penchant for energy wastage and opposition to any binding international climate agreement)are considered sustainable as they are. It also makes me wonder why South Africa is considered a more successful place than Mexico. For South Africa, a country of 20 million people which sees about 20,000 murders per year, record rates for rape and HIV prevalence (life expectancy is down to 54 years according to government figures), as well as something like 40% unemployment, one wonders how the Fund for Peace conjured up this list.

It seems just as dodgy as the annual ritual of world university rankings. Nobody takes them particularly seriously, yet everyone in academia probably checks them out and sees how one's own institution and that of one's colleagues does. Pretty silly, but that's us... all too human :).

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