Understanding Peace Metrics paves the way to a more compassionate society.
I first learned about the Global Peace Index last April at a conference in Washington DC hosted by the Institute for Economics and Peace. After spending the past three years exploring effective ways to create an environment for positive change, I reached out to educators, business people and government leaders. I found this information a most exciting revelation, as I knew it would provide a way to make a more compelling case to motivate the implementation of peace building programs. As soon as I began talking about the Global Peace Index in India, eyes opened and ears perked up when Mumbaikars learned that India ranked 142 out of 158 countries. “We are a people of peace – we can do much better than that!” was a comment I often heard. Great, let’s use the natural human urge to compete for a positive purpose. From that point on, One Life Alliance has become a Global Peace Initiative whose mission is to partner with educators, business and government, along with like-minde NGO’s to raise the peace index all over the world. As one of the speakers stated at a recent conference hosted by IEP on Peace Metrics – Peace Economics and the Role of Business, “What can be measured, can be improved.”
I will share with you what I learned at the conference about the role of business in creating pillars of peace:
Peace is one of the most used words in the English language and it means different things to different people. Therefore, peace is intangible and often left to the realm of the new age, the spiritual or religious. What about peace in everyday life? Can the focus of increasing peace benefit business? What would that look like for a society? When community problems are resolved, life is in balance and we all enjoy more peace. Trust, cooperation and inclusiveness are necessary to resolve differences and conflicts, both personally and in our society.
But what drives society? It is economics – money – that moves and shapes our societies. Business can play an important, and essential role by engaging in new ways to build structures of peace. Education, business and government can increase their understanding of conflict management to develop competency in strengthening relationships with each other. When peace metrics of a community are understood, it becomes clear what areas need balance, integration and resilience. Business can work with consultants and NGO’s to steer stability initiatives toward community based programs. Local initiatives can then be effectively formed to interrupt violence. Violence de-stabilizes society and disrupts business. Peace prospers when economics are stable. Business prospers when peace prospers – they go hand in hand as the business of peace gives rise to greater success and economic stability, which in turn increases the peace index. The average citizen benefits by the principles of inclusion and balance, which are factors in creating structures of peace.
We can learn much about successful practices by looking at the most peaceful nations on the Global Peace Index. The top ten most peaceful nations are:
- New Zealand
The least most peaceful nations are:
- Dem. Rep of Congo
- North Korea
- Central African Republic
The three main components to create pillars of peace are:
- Sound business environment
- Well functioning government
- Equal distribution of resources
The five main components to create these are:
- Free flow of information
- Quality education
- Respecting the rights of others
- Low levels of corruption
- Good relations with neighbors
It is obvious that balance is the key and it takes all aspects of a society to work together to maintain that balance. When economies become unstable, violence increases. When governments are corrupt, the distribution of resources that are required to survive and prosper are not addressed effectively or in some cases, not at all.
Many examples of ‘what’s good for humanity can be good for business’ were given at this conference by graduate students who presented papers of this research. There is a strong consensus that business can be a positive driver of peace while contributing to the economic stability of the community. Business can be a force for war or peace – both can be financially profitable for business, but peace is by far the sustaining factor in creating maximum profit and personal enrichment when people organize for a collective purpose to respond to social needs.
By the end of this conference, I realized that what is really fueling the research on Peace Metrics and the resulting peace initiatives is love – love for humanity. This research shows us how connected and interdependent we are, and thus, how important it is to find new ways to work together. Raising the peace index first in ourselves gives rise to a stronger motivation to address the structures of peace to raise the peace index in our communities. We cannot eliminate acts of terror and other violent crimes, but we can strengthen ourselves and our world through engagement and increased understanding about the economics of peace and how this contributes to our wellbeing and progress.