How we measure safety


The first step in making a country safe is a common understanding of what threatens it.

An investor who specializes in solving a particular threat is much more likely to succeed in a country that considers that threat important. 

Our interviews reveal the most important large-scale threats to a country as perceived by that country’s prime actors. We compare these threats with the analyses of outside experts, to show the differences.

Below are threats to three imaginary countries, Enlightenedstan, Developingstan, and Failingstan, as seen by the prime actors’ interview data and by outside experts.

There are only 2 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:  • 1 of the threats named by the prime actors (Economic downturn) was not mentioned by the outside experts. • 1 of the threats named by the outside experts (Natural disasters) was not named by the prime actors. • 9 of the top ten threats were named by both.  An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 9 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 2 threats about which there is disagreement.

There are only 2 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:

• 1 of the threats named by the prime actors (Economic downturn) was not mentioned by the outside experts.
• 1 of the threats named by the outside experts (Natural disasters) was not named by the prime actors.
• 9 of the top ten threats were named by both.

An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 9 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 2 threats about which there is disagreement.

There are 4 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:   • 2 of the threats named by the prime actors (Country D (neighbor) and Natural disasters) were not mentioned by the outside experts. • 2 of the threats named by the outside experts (Nuclear weapons and Resource shortages) were not named by the prime actors. • 8 of the top ten threats were named by both.  An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 8 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 4 threats about which there is disagreement.

There are 4 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:

• 2 of the threats named by the prime actors (Country D (neighbor) and Natural disasters) were not mentioned by the outside experts.
• 2 of the threats named by the outside experts (Nuclear weapons and Resource shortages) were not named by the prime actors.
• 8 of the top ten threats were named by both.

An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 8 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 4 threats about which there is disagreement.

There are 8 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:   • 4 of the threats named by the prime actors (Country B (neighbor), Country D (neighbor), Environmental degradation and Western countries) were not mentioned by the outside experts. • 4 of the threats named by the outside experts (Nuclear material, Regional terrorist organization, Regional sectarian conflict, and Terrorism) were not named by the prime actors. • 6 of the top ten threats were named by both.  An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 6 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 8 threats about which there is disagreement.

There are 8 differences between the prime actor assessments and the outside expert assessments:

• 4 of the threats named by the prime actors (Country B (neighbor), Country D (neighbor), Environmental degradation and Western countries) were not mentioned by the outside experts.
• 4 of the threats named by the outside experts (Nuclear material, Regional terrorist organization, Regional sectarian conflict, and Terrorism) were not named by the prime actors.
• 6 of the top ten threats were named by both.

An investor can feel confident of encountering wide and deep political and social support to address any of the 6 threats that both prime actors and outside experts agree are important—but not those 8 threats about which there is disagreement.

Immediate implications

The threats named only by prime actors are useful to outside experts and other outside actors who have missed crucial threats, or misunderstood the perceptions and priorities of prime actors.

The threats named only by outside experts reveal the status quo understanding. Sovereignty Accelerator participants (prime actors and customers) can use this information to better understand and counter the biases of outsiders.

Outside experts and other outside actors can use this information to either recognize:

•Their own biases, blind spots, or faulty data
•The ignorance of the prime actors to one or more rising threat(s).

The threats named by both groups
confirm the reality of those threats.