The Costs of War

There’s a bit of controversy surrounding “The Human Security Report,” (HSR) published a couple of weeks ago by Andrew Mack and colleagues at Simon Fraser University. It suggests that improvements in public health over the last few decades have continued to lower mortality rates in many African nations, even during times of war. Looking at Figure 2.1, it just seems counter-intuitive that Under-5 mortality would not increase in more countries during periods of conflict.

Epidemiologist Les Roberts (Columbia Univ.) argues forcefully that the report is not very good scholarship (to put it kindly). In his words, “this report draws unjustified conclusions and will leave the world more ignorant and misguided for its release.” Ouch. Roberts makes a strong case to back up his statement, including points like this:

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