A world at war: Deaths from armed conflict have more than tripled since 2010

Sarah Spickernell
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Violence is costly to contain (Source: Getty)

The number of people who died as a result of armed combat reached 180,000 last year, according to figures from the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP).

This was over 3.5 times higher than the 49,000 who died in 2010, and the economic impact has been huge.
In 2014, the cost of dealing with violence came to $14.3trn (£9.1trn), or 13.4 per cent of global GDP. This is equivalent to the economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK combined.
But this isn't because of greater combat across the world – if you consider Europe alone, it has become more peaceful every year for the last four years. Greece, for all its economic woes, has progressed the most, shooting up 22 places on a list of 162 countries ranked for peacefulness.
The decline into violence is instead the result of deepening tensions in countries already at war, including Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Steve Killelea, founder and executive of the IEP, said:
2014 was marked by two contradictory trends: on the one hand, many countries in the OECD achieved historic levels of peace while on the other, strife-torn nations, especially in the Middle East, became more violent.

Expensive for the UK

Even where armed violence has been going down, the cost of it remains significant. In the UK the number of deaths in combat has been falling ever since its exit from Afghanistan, and in 2014 it came 39 out of 162 for peacefulness - eight points higher than in 2010.
But the cost of containing and dealing with violence still reached £88.88bn last year – the equivalent of 5.7 per cent of GDP or £1,387 per person.
“Reducing conflict is a crucial plank in ensuring continued world economic recovery,” said Killelea.
If global violence were to decrease by 10 per cent uniformly, an additional $1.43trn would effectively be added to the world economy. To put this in perspective, this is more than six times the total value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the IMF, ECB and other Eurozone countries combined.

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