Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Economist gets it wrong on capital punishment

While I do have a something of a soft spot for The Economist, I feel obliged to point out another rather careless factual error. In particular, a recent article about capital punishment claims that:
Japan is one of 22 nations and the only developed country--Apart from America, where it is falling out of favour--that retains capital punishment.
Contrary to this statement, I count at least four other developed countries that retain capital punishment, namely: Singapore, TaiwanSouth Korea, and Qatar. Whilst Qatar and South Korea may have not have used the death penalty for some years, it remains a legal form of criminal punishment in those countries. Both Singapore and Taiwan have reportedly executed people as recently as this year.

The UN rates all three of Singapore, South Korea and Qatar as having "very high" human development; indeed in the latest index, Singapore and South Korea are ranked above Japan. Taiwan is reportedly not included in the HDI, but the Taiwanese government has calculated that if it were, it too would would have "very high" human development.

2 comments:

  1. Saudi Arabia? Or are they not considered 'developed'?

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  2. Yes, it is also in the "very high" development category of the HDI. But it's a few places below even Qatar, and I guess most people probably wouldn't consider it a developed country. But it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable to include Saudi Arabia as well.

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