[First published February 1, 2005] A question I often get is how all the murder committed by governments, virtually all by criminal dictatorships (sorry, that was redundant—I need only say dictatorships) compares to other causes of death, such as war and diseases. So, below I present such a comparison chart for the world’s average annual democide rate 1900-1987 to the world’s annual death rate from other causes (this is one of a number of my attempts to visualize the world’s democide toll— link here).
Note that governments murdered more people than all deaths combined due to traffic accidents, war, homicide, and alcohol.
The total murdered by governments over 1900-1987 was 170,000,000; a less systematic update of the toll brings it to 174,000,000 for 1900-1999. [I have had to update this democide to 262,00,000] Shocking, yes? Now, think about how little is said about democide in textbooks and the media. Even more astounding, isn’t it?
For a chapter long dissection of the meaning and definition of democide, see this link.
And so, democide goes on in North Korea, Sudan, the Congo, China, Laos, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and dozens and dozens of other dictatorships, mainly not some big episode of murder that would make the news, but as the day-by-day operation of government agencies. In other words, murder is a normal daily operation of these thugdoms.
How do we account for this continuing carnage? In these post-Cold War years, it’s the bloody success of immoral noninterventionism and obsolete realpolitiks.. Stability trumps stopping the murderous thugs, you know.
Link of Note
”Congo death toll up to 3.8m” (12/10/204) Guardian Unlimited Special Report
“Six years of conflict in Congo have claimed 3.8 million lives – half of them children – with most victims killed by disease and famine in the still largely cut-off east, the International Rescue Committee said yesterday.
“More than 31,000 civilians die each month as a result of the conflict despite peace deals, the group said, citing mortality surveys prepared with the aid of on-site medical teams. The association has for years produced the most widely used estimate of deaths in the country.”
Much of this is democide. And it goes on. And on. And on.