More on government and murder

One thing that was bothering me about my previous democide/homicide calculation is that it didn’t account for the changing world population over the century, which went from 1.65 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000. Also, one or two people objected to my assertion that the USA has one of the highest homicide rates in the world – it seldom leaps to the very top, as South Africa has replaced Colombia, but it is always in the top 5-10.

First, I used a spreadsheet to work out that the average world population over the course of the 20th century was 3.82 billion. This is an estimate, of course, but much closer than assuming it was always 6 billion. As to the global homicide rate, what worked out to 1.6/100k did seem too low, so I decided on a different method.

Taking the most four populous “countries” – China, India, the USA and the EU – (using France, Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy for the EU) – provided homicide rates of 1.3, 3.74, 5.64, and 1.79 respectively, resulting in an average 3.12 murders per 100,000. 3.82 billion divided by 100,000 and multiplied by 3.12 gives 119,184 annual homicides. (This means that with 4.83 percent of the global population, the US accounts for 7.84 percent of the global murders, which sounds about right.)

Over the course of the century, that’s 11.9 million murders by individual criminals, which is horrific, but still only 6.43 percent of the 185 million bodycount racked up by governments the world over from 1900 to 2000. This method of calculation thus concludes that government is 15.55 times more lethal than crime.