2020 — A Year Like No Other
2020 has been like no other year. A pandemic, the worst economic contractions on record, and occurring at a time when most economies were already sluggish with flat productivity growth. Yet living in Australia has provided distance from some of these harsh realities — almost no COVID-19, with everyone left relatively free to live their lives. However, my mind cannot help but think to the future, as the next five years are likely to be challenging.
Even with a successful vaccine, the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic will linger for years and compound any existing societal weaknesses. For western democracies, there were warning signs well before the lockdowns. For the last decade many measures of Positive Peace had been deteriorating – group grievances, perceptions of corruption, deteriorating income distribution, fractionalised elites, to name the most important issues. During this period of time demonstrations, riots and general strikes increased by 244 per cent. These factors will only intensify with high unemployment, large debts and a sluggish economic recovery. More than ever, governments need new approaches to manage these issues, but they are not currently apparent, and our leaders are stuck with the same policies of the last two decades.
At the Institute for Economics & Peace, we are working towards a paradigm shift in the way we develop our societies, shifting them towards peace. Our Positive Peace framework contains the very factors that create peace and also generate the background conditions for many of the things we value to flourish, such as higher per capita income, better performance on measures of wellbeing and happiness, stronger performance on ecological measures, to name a few.
In contrast to this outlook, IEP has had an exceptional year. Staff numbers have increased by 15 per cent, we have given or spoken at 250 virtual conferences, and our consulting revenue has tripled. We released a new product — the Ecological Threat Register — which received seven billion media impressions. Our standard products, the Global Peace Index and Global Terrorism Index, also went well recording another 13 billion media impressions between them.
I wish you all well for 2021. Hopefully, the vaccines will work, we will start travelling again, the global economies will begin to recover and I will be travelling again and we can meet once more.
With best wishes,
Founder & Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics & Peace
From the Global Peace Index to the COVID-19 & Peace report