The Economist has published an interesting report exploring the rise of sociopolitical strife around the world, and which countries are most at risk. Below is a chart of 150 countries analyzed by the The Economist Intelligence Unit — a sister company of The Economist — based mostly on measures of institutional and political weaknesses.
Notice how few countries are ranked as “low” or “very low” in terms of their likelihood of revolt. As the article assesses:
According to the EIU’s ratings, 65 countries (43% of the 150) will be at a high or very high risk of social unrest in 2014. For 54 countries the risk of instability is medium and for the remaining 31 countries it is low or very low. Compared with five years ago, 19 more countries are now in the high-risk categories.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA), southern Europe, the Balkans and the former Soviet countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are well represented in the high-risk categories: 12 out of 18 MENA states, six of the seven Balkan countries, eight out of the 12 CIS states, five out of six southern European ones. More than 40% of the countries in eastern Europe are in the high-risk categories. This region was hit hard by the financial crisis and also has many of the underlying characteristics associated with unrest. Unsurprisingly, many high-risk countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. But there are also some in Latin America and Asia—including the world’s largest and most successful emerging market, China, where the authorities are perennially nervous about the risk of mass protests.
Indeed, this coincides with a global trend of growing and pervasive distrust between citizens and their elites (political and economic). Even the most stable and democratic countries are following this trend, so imagine how much is simmering beneath the surface of less prosperous and free nations? The future is going to get interesting, and depending on your perspective, this may be a positive trend, insofar as many people in the world have few other venues left for change.
What are your thoughts?