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All we are saying is, give a thorough cost-benefit analysis a chance

NICHOLAS BURNS is right: a peace pledge should be part of every candidate’s platform ( “Why isn’t peace on anyone’s platform?’’ Op-ed, Dec. 23). The key to convincing candidates to do so, however, is to make the economic case. In 2011, the Institute for Economics and Peace launched the U.S. Peace Index - one of the first efforts to assess the true cost of violence and the true economics of peace.

Recognizing that violence creates costs for businesses and governments and reduces overall economic productivity, the index highlights the substantial positive economic impact that even small improvements in peace can have. Peace is linked to opportunity, health, education, and the economy, and states that rank higher on these social and economic factors tend to have higher scores in peace.

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As Congress struggles to forge a fiscally sustainable way forward, the index sheds much-needed light on yet-unrealized savings worth billions of dollars. Despite Washington’s tendency to pursue policies that primarily react to violence - creating a less economically prosperous country - it would behoove our leaders to take seriously the measurable benefits of peace.

Michael Shank

Vice president, Institute for Economics and Peace


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