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Archive for november, 2006

Democracy vs Hunger

Professor R J Rummel is complaining about IFPRIs Global Hunger Index, because they exclude ”developed countries” from their data, simply because there is no hunger there. I agree with him, it makes the data much harder to use. It also, more specifically, makes it hard to know if a country missing from the data is there because they don’t think the country is big or significant enough to be in there, or because they have decided that it is a ”developed country”.

However, I may make Professor Rummel happy by noticing that it doesn’t matter when it comes to showing what he wants to show. Even though developed countries (and thereby most democracies) are excluded, the data that exists are still so overwhelmingly clear that it is almost scary.

”Hunger” in this graph measured on the IFPRI hunger index and ”Democracy” is a measure on how free/democratic countries are on a scale from one to twelve, with the data coming from Freedom house. I simply grouped all countries that had a particular democracy level, and took an average of the hunger index for these countries.

So, simply speaking, if a country is extremely totalitarian or just averagely oppressive doesn’t matter, people will still starve. But when countries are moving out from what Freedomhouse calls ”Partly Free” into what they call ”Free” countries (8-12 on my scale above) we see a significant drop in hunger, that directly follows the level of freedom!

It couldn’t be much clearer than that, really. Freedom, baby, yeah.


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