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Maximiliano Herrera -The Editor
I just saw on Maximilliano's web site the rating of countries in terms of their freedoms. Without trying to speculate about the concept of freedom and the fact it can have different understandings in different cultures, some reasons I cannot take such ratings seriously:
- if you are the only one who compiles them, they are bound to be subjective and reveal your own stereotypes about a country
- they reveal the bias that your sources have, and clearly for so many countries you cannot possibly consult sources providing views from different angles on a country
- estimating the degree of freedoms (even if you have a "gold standard" of freedom), is a matter of considering very many factors. You clearly cannot arrange them all in the line: "FREE - PARTIALLY FREE - NOT FREE". This reminds me of children discussing a rating "who's stronger - Schwarznegeer, Bruce Lee, Alien or Terminator".
Please don't say you used a ranking principle adopted somewhere in CIA - any ranking according to "freedom" is just not serious.
Since I am not paid by anybody , and my site is nonprofit, I try to be as unpartial as possible.
I read constantly hundreds of different sources
-including your posts for example-
and I have many people and NGOs who help and collaborate with me providing information, resources, documents, facts, etc.
It is not possible to make everybody "happy", just to give you an example sometimes I receive emails saying "you are crazy. India is the freest country in the world. You must rate it with 1-1 otherwise you are an ignorant" and other (maybe few days later!) " do you have an idea of the kind of violations there are in the worst country in the world, India? You must rate it with 7-7 to reflect the truth and not to tell a tale!"
The case of India is just an example (but it happened!).
Apart of the Electoral Calendar, which contains dates of events (so they are unsubjective) all the other statistics are subjective:Freedom in the World,World Rank,A World in Trouble,New Countries,...
I guess I am doing a good job, altough many people cannot agree with all.
Would you agree, for example, with the living standard statistics of a huge organization like the United Nations when they say living standard in Argentina is higher than Poland ? Or in Cuba living standard in higher than Malaysia and Bahamas ??? Or Tongans live better than Thais ?? Or Sudanese live better than Kenyans ?
Or when they say that Bangladesh,Cambodia,Bhutan and Sudan enjoy "medium" living standards ?? brrrrr...
Very difficult to agree with it.
I think my statistics are more balanced ,nevertheless they always represent a point of view.
So,besides many congratulations I am always expect to receive some criticism sometimes.
My point was assessing political situation in a single country is always a matter of a lot of controversy. People write entire PhD theses on a single country within a period of several years, describing various standpoints, various social groups, etc. You cannot reduce such assessments to the difference between free-not free. You on your own cannot make any serious conclusions about so many countries.
As to living standards, these are quantifiable (the average wage in proportion to minimum cost of life, etc), so it is possible to build meaningful rankings like that.
I think its fair to say both points of view are respectable. So, i realise in doing the website you try to give as unbiased a view as possible, but my point is that you cannot completely judge a country on your thoughts from reading up on them. The only true way to determine is wether the people of that country are repressed. And how can you draw the line between a 1,1 and a 2,2 or a 4,5 and a 5,6? Surely these markes are practically the same?
And also, the same biased views are apparant in every "freedom rating" - That the neutral countries in the World Wars (sweden, switz, etc) are always right up there, whereas the old soviet republics are "very repressed...." I realise they may be more undemocratic etc, but these countries have democracies unlike some others which often get a similar rating.
On a lighter note, just to annoy you, How come Britain only gets a 1,2? I see no problem with our civil rights?!
Nice discussion, joy to read.
I think what Maximilliano did ih his website worths applause. It is really uniqe site I have seen so far. Good job.
Regarding his freedom rating, I think it is nice, no matter how he came up with it. Surely, it is based on his own research. It is more like writing thesis where you have your own methodology and of course conslusion. Naturally, not everybody can buy it, but it does no mean that it is wrong.