If there is one global index it is best not to be on, it is the Fund for Peace’s annual Failed States Index. It ranks 177 countries using 12 social, economic, and political indicators of pressure on the state.
This year, the FSI ranked Somalia as number one for the fourth consecutive year, citing widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, conflict, crime, and pirate attacks against commercial vessels as reasons for the country’s billing.
Finland, on the other hand, has displaced Norway at the bottom of the index. “Slight fluctuations in demographic and economic indicators, though minimal, lowered Norway’s scores, allowing Finland, with its continued stability, to slip in front of its Nordic neighbour.” Electing a populist party like the True Finns clearly has little impact. In turn, Georgia is the most improved nation because of new accountability and transparency measures introduced in the security sector, as well as a firm crackdown on political corruption.
This year, Britain is at 161st place – better than previous years when it was ranked 159 or 160. But, curiously, the number-crunchers seem to think that Portugal (a country in danger of economic collapse), Belgium (best described as an NGO, after having gone without a government for ages) and Japan (which has just been rocked by a near-nuclear meltdown) as more stable than Britain. Hopefully, the credit agencies don’t read the index or that the Unions look at it and conclude that Britain could afford to hover around the 140 mark.