freedom map

The map shown above is World Audit and Freedom House’s assessment of political freedom and democracy in the 149 countries with populations over 1 million people. The assessments are based on corruption, human rights, political rights, and the rule of law. If you think they are biased or unscientific, or want to see a larger version of the map or details of the scoring, see their site here . Of the 149 countries, 34 are listed as ‘free’, another 34 as ‘partly free’ and the remaining 81 as ‘not free’. These scores do not assess economic freedom, though the Wall Street Journal (in conjunction with the right-wing Heritage Society) rate these separately, and the correlation is, with some notable exceptions, high.

It doesn’t take much to qualify as ‘partly free’, and a brief look at the list of 81 countries that don’t even make that threshold is sobering. All of these 81 countries, and quite a few of the 34 ‘partly free’ countries could be (and in many cases are already known to be) hotbeds and havens for terrorism, and most could develop or acquire nuclear, chemical or biological weapons (WMD). Many of these countries have experienced brief periods of at least partial democracy, but in every case there was not enough education, infrastructure, or economic resources to prevent back-sliding into autocracy, corruption, lawlessness and oppression. And let’s not forget that the achievement of freedom that the 34 countries have attained took, in many cases, centuries to achieve, often after bloody revolutions and setbacks, and in no case was lasting democracy successfully imposed on any country by another. Note that Venezuela and Bolivia are listed as ‘free’ but recent events suggest they may not qualify as such in the next annual survey.

So the question, on the verge of Bush’s attack on Iraq, is who’s next and where do they stop? There is a reason humanitarian organizations say that only by helping ‘not free’ countries to develop the infrastructure, resources and self-sufficiency needed to enable and sustain democratic institutions, economic viability and the rule of law, can freedoms be established and sustained: Because no other method, including war, occupation and colonialism, has ever worked.

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to WHO’S NEXT AFTER IRAQ

  1. Rayne says:

    Ever read Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel”? Interesting maps on the spread of technology and crops. Seeing this map, I wonder if there’s a correlation between evolutionary and memetic migrations and any of the maps Diamond used. Hmmm.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Rayne: No, but I will read it (I just read the excerpt online). I’m not a fan of Dawkins, so the terms ‘meme’ and ‘memetics’ rub me wrong, but I’ll keep an open mind. My favourite books on the history of human culture are:Peter Jay, The Wealth of ManDaniel Quinn, The Story of BJames Burke et al,The Axemaker’s GiftHave you read any of these? My essay “How to Save the World” (available as a story on my blog) outlines the thesis of each, but they’re worth a read in their own right.

  3. filchyboy says:

    Why the issue with Dawkins?

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Hard to explain in a few words, but…I’m not a behaviouralist, and find the whole concept of ‘programmed’ behaviour and culture simplistic and inconsistent with scientific fact. I’m also a Gould fan, and have read the Dawkins/Gould debates and find the late Mr.Gould far more credible. Are you a fan of Dawkins?

  5. Mary says:

    I highly recommend Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. He does a wonderful job of trying to explain why the western world won the economic war (instead of the east or the americas before Europeans showed up). It definitely isn’t a Darwinist treatment (unless you add in the natural world, which did provide an unfair advantage like the number of tameable animals available) and he doesn’t use a meme treatment to try to describe the history of the world.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks Mary – based on Rayne’s earlier suggestion, I’ve ordered it. My problem now is I don’t have enough time for reading books, maintaining a blog, and doing my day job. *sigh* If only I could afford to retire early.

Comments are closed.