One Of The Most Important Lists I've Ever Seen, And The United States Is In 99th Place. Yikes.

These fine folks had the brilliant idea to quantify peace and rank all the countries in the world. Unfortunately, the United States isn't doing so hot right now. We're — you guessed it — 99th out of the 162 countries on the list. How do we fix that? Take a look, and make sure to stick around until 2:01, when they explain why this list isn't just an exercise but could really change the way we think about minimizing conflict and achieving real world peace.

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Male Speaker 1: Peace is one of the most profoundly used words in the human language, but how much do we know about peace?

Developing the Global Peace Index, creating a ranking of the nations of the world according to their peacefulness, you can now start to arrive at a lot deeper detail about the attitudes, institutions, and structures which create a peaceful society. Without peace, we can't actually build the building blocks to create a modern society as we know it today.

Female Speaker: Now, they lead to peace, but these structures also lead to human potential to flourish. It's eight structures, and they are strongly interrelated. It's a sound business environment, a well-functioning government, and an equitable distribution of resources. [It's] free flow of information, low levels of corruption, acceptance of the rights of others, high levels of education, and good relations with neighbors.

Male Speaker 2: One of the most important notions for us is that peace isn't some kind of nebulous concept. It's quantifiable, it's measurable, and it's trackable.

Male Speaker 1: If we wanted to understand the properties of light, would we study darkness? If you wanted to live a really healthy life, would you hang around people who are on their deathbed? To understand what's going to create lasting peace, we're not going to learn from trying to study conflict.

Male Speaker 3: The Global Peace Index is the world's leading measure of peacefulness. The index gauges the level of safety and security in a society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization. The most peaceful country in the world is Iceland, followed by Denmark and New Zealand.

Male Speaker 1: Peace. In many ways, it's not an abstract concept. It relates directly to me and you and the quality with which we live our lives. In the past, peace may have been the domain of the altruistic, but today it's in everyone's self-interest.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Video by Vision of Humanity, which developed the world's first Peace Index. Take a look at their crazy-cool interactive website to search the rankings and see why the U.S. is so low on the list.

May 01, 2014

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