A country of peace

Costa Rica proclaims itself to be a country of peace. They abolished their army in 1948 and never looked back.

Costa Ricans will quickly tell you that their citizens are considered among the happiest in the world. This is backed up by a study by the New Economics Foundation from England, which put Costa Rica at the top of 151 nations based on progress and well-being. The Dutch-based World Database of Happiness has also put Costa Rica at the top.

With the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America, Costa Rica has chosen to invest in health care and education, rather than militarization. They have also focused on environmental responsibility, seeking to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2021 (that is, focusing on renewable fuels so that no more carbon is produced than is “sequestered,” be it by plants or by other means).

It’s a beautiful country, with national parks making up over 30% of the country. They have access to oceans to the east and to the west. All of that makes it a prime tourist destination. In fact, many people from the States are choosing to retire in Costa Rica.

The country is far from perfect. Still, it’s interesting to see what can happen when a country dedicates itself to being a country of peace.

In the words of Nicholas Kristof:

Cross-country comparisons of happiness are controversial and uncertain. But what does seem quite clear is that Costa Rica’s national decision to invest in education rather than arms has paid rich dividends. Maybe the lesson for the United States is that we should devote fewer resources to shoring up foreign armies and more to bolstering schools both at home and abroad.

Photo by Pura Vida (who is obviously Costa Rican, since that is one of their traditional greetings: “Pure life!”)

5 thoughts on “A country of peace

  1. That is interesting that Costa Rica does not have a military. I can’t see that ever happening in the U.S. but we can only wonder what sort of money could be spent elsewhere (education, healthcare, jobs, etc…) if the American defense/military budget were even curtailed in a serious way. However, unless that were to happen, we’ll continue to have a society that spends millions and billions on missile systems while PTA organizations continue to hold bake sales to support education.

    Grace and Peace,


  2. We need to give credit where credit is due.

    Costa Rica – United States relations are historically close and friendly as Costa Rica generally supports the U.S. in international fora, especially in the areas of democracy and human rights.The United States is Costa Rica’s most important trading partner. The U.S. accounts for almost half of Costa Rica’s exports, imports, and tourism, and more than two-thirds of its foreign investment. The two countries share growing concerns for the environment and want to preserve Costa Rica’s important tropical resources and prevent environmental degradation. In 2007, the United States reduced Costa Rica’s debt in exchange for protection and conservation of Costa Rican forests through a debt for nature swap under the auspices of the Tropical Forest Conservation Act. This is the largest such agreement of its kind to date.
    So actually Costa Rica has the most powerful military in the world, The United States

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