Social risk

french-revolution-2About a month ago I’d written about the Political Instability Index, EIU’s forecast of the likelihood of political unrest for165 countries. The Index ranked Norway as the world’s most politically stable country, and Zimbabwe the most volatile. 95 countries were considered “very high risk” or “high risk”; 53 countries “moderate risk”; and only 17 countries were deemed to be “low risk”.

Bhutan, ranked 108, was rated at “moderate risk” to socio-political upheaval.

Bhutanese Blogger expressed disappointment that I didn’t elaborate and commented:

“I am disheartened that Your Excellency has chosen to blog this but do not have any opinion on this index.

“Will this not be (mis)construed as an acknowledgement of the reported ‘moderate risk’? Would not the readers assume that you agree that we have become more vulnerable since 2007?

“This may send out wrong signals to everybody and can the decisions of many individuals (like foreign investors).”

I had promised Bhutanese Blogger that I’d share my opinions on the Index in “a few days.” But it’s already been more than a month. I’m sorry.

All over the world, people live in constant fear of social unrest and political failure. This is particularly so in our immediate neighbourhood. Yet we, Bhutanese, take stability for granted. This is why I found the EIU’s study interesting.

So why is our country this stable? Because of one reason, and one reason alone: our kings. It’s thanks to them that we’ve enjoyed a century of peace, prosperity and happiness. And that we continue to do so. Remember that before 17th December 1907, life in Bhutan was unpredictable, and that our beloved Drukyul was plagued by political intrigue of the highest order.

But the EIU put our country today at “moderate risk”, not “low risk” as most of us would believe. Why? And why have we become so much more vulnerable since 2007? Democracy. Or, more precisely, the transition to a democracy. We enjoyed unprecedented social and political progress under a benevolent absolute monarchy. But with democracy, there are no such guarantees. Recall, for instance, our anxieties before the elections. And remember that they were caused by our politicians.

So the point is this: now that we are a democracy, we can no longer take social and political stability for granted. We must work for it. We must earn it.

The EIU studied fifteen indicators to come up with their political instability index. They include inequality, corruption, trust in institutions, a country’s neighbourhood, unemployment, and level of income per head (read EIU’s methodology). A quick look at these indicators should tell us that we need to do a lot more work – especially in areas like unemployment, inequality and corruption – even just to maintain our “moderate risk” status.

But we are lucky. Our country is blessed with one more indicator. An advantage, actually. And that is our monarchy. In democratic Bhutan, this precious institution has become that much more important.

So to answer Bhutanese Blogger’s comment: All things considered, “moderate risk” appears to be about right. And if EIU thinks that our country has become less stable, it’s probably due to our transition to democracy. But if we work towards building an honest and vibrant democracy, we can, because we have the advantage of a wise monarch, become the most stable country in the world.

It’s up to us.

 

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  1. Druk Gi Charo says:

    Another main reason why Bhutan will be stable is well amplified in the song:

    Charo Charo Druk Gi Charo
    Gyel Khab Jagar, Druk Gi Charo!!

  2. annonymous says:

    the importance of the insitution of monarchy as the unifying force for Bhutan is paramount. it is the institution of monarchy bhutanese will look up to for wisdom and guidance whenever it needs. therefore, i believe our institution of monarchy should always be a paragon – flawless, pure, balanced, beautiful, wise, etc. in order for that to happen, people working in the royal secretariat should be really nice – kind hearted, unbiased, non-discriminatory, nationalist, etc. for today and tomorrow.

    i guess we aren’t too bad as of now.

    • Lampenda Chuup says:

      Our Kings are the epitome of wisdom and compassion. Below them, watch out and be careful. Everyone for himself.

      Other qualities necessary to serve the Kings include vision and wisdom. Impartiality, professionalism and not pulling your cronies and buddies into every imaginable position? Look around and tell me if it isn’t that bad.

      Suddenly we have “interesting” advisors of questionable repute. But, hey – enjoy while it lasts. I hope someone will tell the emperor he has no clothes before it is too late. This is exactly what didn’t happen with LSN – no one told the emperor he had no clothes! And look what happened.

    • annonymous says:

      last sentence reworded:

      i hope we aren’t too bad???

  3. chhoeki says:

    This article has provided me an insightful look into this whole issue. I too beleived we were a low risk group.

    Having read this, I would have to agree with what has been put into words. We have to realsie the extent to which our benevolent Monarchs have strived to bring peace, proserity and stability to us.

    We seem to be an ungratful lot at times, forever expecting more when we should be infact working for it!

  4. chhoeki says:

    If I may put this up again with some editorial changes to mistakes I seem to have overlooked having become so dependent on spell check!

    This article has provided me an insightful look into this whole issue. I too believed we fell under the low risk category.
    Having read this, I would have to agree with what has been put into words. We have to realise the extent to which our benevolent Monarchs have strived to bring peace, proserity and stability to us.
    We seem to be an ungratful lot at times, forever expecting more when we should be infact be working for it!

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