World Country Rankings Brought to You by Patagonia

Suppose you went to a sports event and bought two of those huge foam fingers – one for each hand. You could wave them proudly and scream “We’re number eleven.” Choose red, white or blue  because they go best with the USA jersey you’d also be wearing.

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According to the Prosperity Index published by the Legatum Institute, the United States ranks 11th in the world country rankings based on eight major criteria, each with multiple subcategories.

If you’d like to follow recent émigrés like Eduardo Saverin and Tina Turner, here, in order, are the ten better places you could live: Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Either cold weather is conducive to good living or the whole thing is a scam brought to us by Patagonia.

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According to its website, “the Legatum Institute is an independent non-partisan public policy organization whose research, publications and programs advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies throughout the world. The Legatum Prosperity Index is an annual ranking developed by the Legatum Institute of 142 countries. The ranking is based on a variety of factors including wealth, economic growth and quality of life.”

If you don’t love numbers, try the handy infographic. If you do or if you would prefer to weight the criteria according to your preference, try Ranking 2013.

Somehow we snagged a #2 ranking in health and a #5 in education but these were offset by

  • Economy                                                 24        (China 7, France 22)
  • Entrepreneurship & Opportunity      13        (Scandinavia across the board)
  • Governance                                             11        (last among English speakers)
  • Safety & Security                                    31        (It’s for your safety? Oops!)
  • Personal Freedom                                 16        (Uruguay 10, Costa Rica 11 really?)
  • Social Capital                                           9         (usual cold weather suspects)

When all those navigators get finished with healthcare.gov maybe they be redeployed to help disgruntled Americans find new countries. The Propserity.com website appears to be working.

Or here is another idea.

Policy makers responsible for notable ranking declines can be exiled to their choice of the bottom five countries: Chad (142), Central African Republic (141), Democratic Republic of the Congo (140), Afghanistan (139) or Burundi (138).

Wait, where did Afghanistan rank before we put all that money into it?

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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11 comments

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  • Who is the Legatum Institute? 31st in Safety and Security? Probably because somebody doesn’t like our Second Amendment right to bear arms. The establishment of the ranking criteria is by definition totally subjective. This reminds me of US News and World Report’s University rankings. The Naval Academy and West Point rank behind Wellesley. Really?
    I don’t think so, but the survey makers only give themselves a vote.

  • HP-

    Random note. Scott Berg on page 62 of his bio of Woodrow Wilson, quotes WW as saying how much happier US would be “if she had England’s form of government instead of the miserable delusion of a republic. A republic too founded upon the notion of abstract liberty. .. ”

    First thought of it as a quote for you in light of your BF quote on the masthead. But also wonder whether if one probed the list of Patagonia countries one might not find a correlation along the lines that abstract freedom for individuals yields where the climate is harsher, requiring more cooperative defenses of resources, or some such thing.

  • Where’s Brazil on the list? So far down, yet so sunny and inviting! I guess the thong bikini industry doesn’t carry the same weight as Patagonia; maybe they need better PR, or maybe the Legatum Institute folks need to get out more.