In a time of almost blind nationalist pride and tribalism, US News and World Report has tried something daring: to quantify an objective list of “best countries.” It tries to rank countries on factors like adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power, and quality of life. The top three out of 80 countries ranked, with the most votes in all categories, are Switzerland, Canada, and Germany.
Despite President Trump’s insistence that the US should always rank number one in every category, in this survey the US ranks eight.
It creates “best of” lists for education, women, raising kids, comfortable retirement, investment, starting a career, traveling alone, green living, to headquarter a corporation, to start a business, to study abroad, most forward-looking country, most transparent countries, and most influential countries.
“Best Countries is a rankings, news and analysis project created to capture how countries are perceived on a global scale. The rankings evaluate 80 countries across 24 rankings drawn from a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens, measuring 75 dimensions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment and directly affect national economies.”
Think about the cultural biases in this survey. Per capita income is one. Materialism doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. Modern conveniences might be another. What else?
In any event, it makes you think about your own country and what you might learn from other countries who do certain things better if you are open to learning from them.