World prosperity rankings have a tale to tell

The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index Table Rankings has been published, showing some interesting results.

The top three nations in the overall rankings are Nordic – Norway 1, Denmark 2, Sweden 3, with Finland 7 and Iceland 15 – only two places behind the UK at 13.

Behind the three Nordic nations were two antipodean ones, Australia at 4 and New Zealand at 5.

Norway’s results are extraordinarily good, with only one ranking below 6th place across 8 categories – and that was ‘Governance’ at 13. It has one first place, two seconds, two fourths, two sixths and the one thirteenth.

The UK, at 13th overall, had four categories ranked below that level and four on or above it. Its lowest ranking was at 30 [out of 142], shamingly for Education. It ranked 26 for Economy; 20 for Safety and Security and 18 for Health. Its best rankings were 6 for Entrepreneurship and Opportunity and 7 for Governance.

The UK’s two worst scores, as above, are even more worrying because each is showing a progressive decline over the last three years. The UK Economy was ranked 18 in 2010, 21 in 2011 and is now at 26 for 2012, a marked decline. Education was at 22 in 2010, improved to 19 in 2011 and then fell by almost 50% to 30 in 2012.

Interestingly, Switzerland, at 9 overall, was ranked behind the UK in Education – at 32; with its second worst ranking at 22 for Personal Freedom. With a top rank of 1 for Economy, financial success obviously comes at a price.

Unsurprisingly, chilled out Ireland was ranked 4 for Personal Freedom [Canada came top at 1 in this category]. Incidentally, Ireland at 10 overall was ahead of the UK and the USA at 12.

Of the EU countries, Germany the economic engine, is one behind the UK at 14 overall – but its economy is at 6 and Heath at 5. France is below it at 21 overall, with its Economy ranked one below that at 22, its highest ranking at 9 for Health and its lowest at 40 for Social Capital.

Of the troubled EU economies, Greece is lowest overall at 49 overall, with its Economy at 85 and Personal Freedom at 121. Italy is at 33 with its Economy at 36, Health its best rank at 19 and Safety and Security its worst at 42.  Portugal is at 26 with its Economy at 51, Social Capital at 67 and Personal Freedom at 13. Spain is at 23, with its Economy at 40, its highest rank at 10 is for Education and 18 for Personal Freedom.

Of the growth economies of the  so-called BRIC nations [Brazil, Russia, India, China], Brazil is ranked highest overall at 44, with its highest ranking for Personal Freedom at 25. China is at 55 – but with its Economy at 11 and Personal Freedom at 128. Russia is at 66 with Education at 27, ahead of the UK. India is at 101 overall, driven down by its very low rankings for Social Capital at 138 and safety and Security at 114, – obviously affected by the proximity of Pakistan whose Safety and Security ranking was 139. And India is at 49 for Governance, probably the legacy of empire.

At the desperate end of the index, Zimbabwe had the lowest ranking for Economy at 142, with Liberia at 141 and Haiti at 140.

Yemen was worst for Personal Freedom at 142, followed by Iraq at 141 and Egypt at 140.

The Central African Republic, ranked at 142, the lowest overall, had the lowest Education ranking at 142, with Niger at 141 and Chad at 140.

This is the sort of index you play in addictively for hours.  For fellow nerds, here it is.

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10 Responses to World prosperity rankings have a tale to tell

  1. Interesting to note the steady decline of the UK. An independent Scotland would almost certainly be above the UK, and not comparable to that of the Central African Republic, as some of the Unionist scaremongers would have you believe.

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  2. This looks like a load of nonsense. I suppose you can make a table of the world as you like to see it and put it out as legitimate information for anyone who believes it.

    Take Iceland at #15. There economy is at #61 and their governance is at #20, yet we were told last week that they will not have to pay out anyone for the banks that scammed people in their name. They have sacked or jailed everyone involved through the people taking control of the country and cleaning it up. Both their economy and government ratings should be way up the scale. Now the table places their safety and security at #1, yet they were almost buried in volcanic ash a short time ago.
    The country of Equatorial Guinea, which has one of the highest GDP’s in the world is not even on the list, probably because they would not have released any information.
    I see Libya does not make it to the new list but Iraq is there. I’m sure Libya would have been near the top before it was taken down by the crusaders.

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  3. I have been buying the Economist pocket book on various international indicators which is published every year.

    The information is compiled from various sources such as the World Bank,IMF, CIA, UN and many more.

    Over the last 15 years the UKs position has consistently declined most noticeably against our Nordic cousins but also against every North Sea state.

    I’m desperate for a Unionist to tell me why and what comfort they can give an old bloke like me that the UK’s decent will not mirror my own

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  4. The one thing that all the countries at the top have in common is that they are small countries by population, do not “punch above their weight”, are not “stronger together” with any other country, are not at “the top table in world affairs”, do not have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, do not get involved in illegal foreign wars, are not hanging on the coat tails of the USA like a poodle, do not have to spend a fortune on weapons of mass destruction, and generally just get on with the job of looking after their citizens. Also interesting is that the top three were in a union together for many years until they decided to become independent. What does that tell us about the best way to run a country like Scotland? It certainly blows away a lot of the “Better Together” arguments.

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  5. It won’t be too difficult for some on here to cast their minds a little further back to 2006 when Alex Salmond claimed that Ireland, Iceland and Norway demonstrated that small independent countries were amongst the richest in the world.
    These countries were cited to reinforce his northern European “Arc of prosperity” expectations for an independent Scotland.

    Oh how ridiculed the first two examples have been especially in recent times. A quick glance at their position in this prosperity index in comparison to “Great” Britain’s position might reign in some of those who laughed at our First Minister’s claims. Ireland (10th, not mentioned in Newsroom’s article) and Iceland’s troubles have been well publicised, however, surely not reflective in last years findings given their positions on this table.

    It might be worth highlighting Legatum’s definition of prosperity which indicates that it is not all about how much money we generate and how well off we all are or are not, important points.
    Maybe a more holistic approach should be taken when voting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in 2014 instead of many folks deciding factor being whether they gain financially.

    “The Prosperity Index seeks to answer these two fundamental questions. Most people would intuitively agree that “prosperity” is not just about money but also about quality of life. The Index defines prosperity as both wealth and wellbeing, and finds that the most prosperous nations in the world are not necessarily those that have only a high GDP, but are those that also have happy, healthy, and free citizens”

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  6. Three interesting international yardsticks which folks may wish to review.

    Human Development Index, GDP per capita and the GINI which measures a countries income distribution.

    The HDI is a statistical weighting of wealth, health and education. Produce a lot, educate a lot, health care and social provision a lot and you get high marks. And the UK’s position in the world…….26th ish. And guess whose higher?

    Ditto ditto GDP per capita.

    Oh and yes, who do we think is either bottom or second nearest to the bottom in terms of income inequality. The Yookay perchance?

    But check it out folks see whose cutting and whose not. Just take a look, or better still, visit some of the countries and see with your own eyes.

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  7. Three interesting international yardsticks which folks may wish to review.

    Human Development Index, GDP per capita and the GINI which measures a countries income distribution.

    The HDI is a statistical weighting of wealth, health and education. Produce a lot, educate a lot, health care and social provision a lot and you get high marks. And the UK’s position in the world…….26th ish. And guess whose higher?

    Ditto ditto GDP per capita.

    Oh and yes, who do we think is either bottom or second nearest to the bottom in terms of income inequality in the developed world. The Yookay perchance?

    But check it out folks see whose cutting and whose not. Just take a look, or better still, visit some of the countries and see with your own eyes.

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  8. A good article but not until economists understand that there is a real world out there and economic strategy has to constantly change, shall we in this country start to realise that we have to totally re-engineer our economic thinking and policy mindsets. In this respect the UK will never find a growth model of any meaningful result with present mindsets, as our political elite and their advisers do not understand the basic economics of the evolving new world order. Indeed they look for something that is not there within their understanding, as their thinking is totally absorbed with the past and where this will not work in the future. Instead of looking long-term for something that would eventually be really meaningful they look to the bog standard quick fixers that now are as extinct as the dinosaur. Before they were around but no more as the new world order shows its increasing face. Unfortunately our politicians and their advisers are blind to all this and where they simply rely upon hope. Unfortunately again, hope is no longer an option for UK plc. Once our political masters and their tame advisers realise that they are passed their sell-by-date, we might see a change that builds a solid and robust economy, but not before. The problem also is that the present stagnant thinking is that which got us all into this horrible mess in the first place and where in physical terms, nothing has changed with their thinking. Our economic fundamentals are all wrong now and the sooner our leaders realise that this is our greatest problem inhibiting economic growth, the sooner we can start thinking in new terms that will spawn future economic dynamism. Unfortunately still again, this will never really happen as those who are in charge are the ones who are simply not opening up their minds to those who have the solutions. The reason, they are programmed to only accept their own wisdom that will take our nation deeper and deeper into economic oblivion over the next two decades. A sorry state of affairs, but where the elitist system never allows we mere mortals to see what real fools they really are. Indeed they would keep face no matter what and even if the UK went down the proverbial drain. That is what is wrong with our leadership today and all backed up by their vested interests and so-called intelligent and wise men. Nothing could be further away from the truth as history has shown so clearly over the last quarter of a century and especially the last decade. For if these people had the answers, this nation of ours would be outperforming all others. The reason again, we are the most innovative people in the world according to international research (Japan & Germany), but where this greatest strength of ours is totally stifled by our political thinking and dire economic strategy that is constantly thought up by the government’s ill-informed advisers. For the UK’s economic salvation lies totally in the hands of delivery and for this to happen, the politicians have to stand back, think differently for a change and realise that this can only come from a structured creative infrastructure where all our people’s incredible thinking can flourish and solve our economic woes and dilemma. Nothing less will do and where the history of S&T tells us that this is the only way. Unfortunately yet again, politicians and their astute advisers do not know what I am talking about and have not a clue. That is their greatest threat to any future meaningful existence and why I say that things can only go from bad to worse over the years ahead with the same old thinking. The same old thinking that has got to where we are today, a nation in decline and increasing disarray. Oh how I wish that they would open up their minds for once.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation

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    • Dear Dr Dave,
      Ever thought of writing in paragraphs?

      Perhaps it could be an innovation to be included in your “world innovation foundation”

      Regards
      Sam

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