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May 21, 2008

Things that make you go hmmmm: happiness with no peace

I don't get how this works. It seems like a contradiction to me.

Today, Ynet is reporting that Israel has placed in the bottom four of 140 nations in a ranking of how peaceful the nation is. Israel placed right next to illustrious war torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq Sudan and Somalia.

Just the other day, Jameel mentioned a report from the Asia Times that did a study on happy countries, and they found that Israel was ranked as the happiest country, with a higher life expectancy than even Germany or the Netherlands!

How do those two categories fit together? The least peaceful, but the happiest. Doesn't make much sense.


  1. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

    -Benjamin Disraeli

    In order to understand how the EIU came to its conclusion, you have to check out its methodology, as outlined here. Note that a higher score means less peaceful.

    Some of the things which go into the score include:
    - Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people (in Israel, we don't associate this with being an unpeaceful attribute, but it gives us a higher score than most other countries - at least the chareidim mitigate this part of the score!);
    - relations with neighboring countries;
    - political instability;
    - potential for terrorist acts;
    - likelihood of violent demonstrations;
    - volume of transfers (exports) of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people (this actually means that some other country, i.e., the one being exported to, is less peaceful!);
    - Military capability/sophistication (I think that a sofisticated military is irelevant, since it contributes to a country's deterance, but the survey counts it as an unpeaceful attribute); and
    - Ease of access to small arms and light weapons (this is a highly debated issue, and the EIU is clearly taking one side of the debate).

    About the comparison to the Asia Times article, it was not a scientific study, nor was it the "Asia Times" which was making the statement. Rather, it was just one guy. His "study" is merely an observation that Israel has a relatively high birth rate and a relatively low suicide rate (I'm alone with my three kids this week, and I fully understand how having more kids would be associated with increased thoughts of suicide, but I digress). The article relates to this as a measure of happiness, but doesn't seem to make a convincing case of it.

  2. "Don't Worry Be Happy" :)
    Israel's Mission Statement

  3. Be Happy: Our peace ratings can only go up!


    (btw - what does peace have to do with being happy anyway? seems that the more oslo moves us closer to destruction, we're less and less happy...)

  4. of course it makes sense - it's just like being married!!!!

  5. Doesn't everyone know that Jews are happiest when we are violent? It's fun to serve in the military and live with the threat of death and destruction. These goyim don't know us at all.

  6. It could well be that life expectancy in Israel exceeds that of Germany or Holland - but the statistics for this are skewed by the large numbers of elderly Russians that made aliyah in the 1990s.



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