Moral Low Ground


Legatum Institute: US No Longer Ranks Among World’s 10 Most Prosperous Nations

The United States no longer ranks among the world’s 10 most prosperous nations, the latest annual report from a prominent think-tank has found.

The sixth annual Legatum Prosperity Index was released on Tuesday by the Legatum Institute, part of the Legatum Group, a Dubai-based private investment company founded by New Zealand billionaire Christopher Chandler.

The index evaluates and ranks 144 nations in eight categories: economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital.

According to the index, the world’s 10 most prosperous nations are: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland.

Leaders in each category include: Switzerland (economy), Denmark (entrepreneurship and opportunity), Switzerland (governance), New Zealand (education), Luxembourg (health), Iceland (personal safety and security), Canada (personal freedom) and Norway (social capital).

The 10 least prosperous nations are: Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Chad, Haiti, Burundi, Togo, Zimbabwe, Yemen and Ethiopia.

The United States fell two places from 10th to 12th on this year’s index. The US scored 20th in economy, 12th in entrepreneurship and opportunity, 10th in governance, 5th in education, 2nd in health, 27th in safety and security, 14th in personal freedom and 10th in social capital.

The report found that fewer Americans believe that hard work leads to success. Americans reported less respect for government and much lower than average confidence in financial institutions. The US also reported higher business start-up costs and lower exports of high-tech products.

Americans reported much higher than average confidence in their country’s armed forces, much higher charitable giving and 38 times as many secure internet servers per million people than the global average.

America’s high grade in the health category– only tiny Luxembourg scored better– is surprising because the US is the only industrialized nation without a government-run universal health care system.

The report called America’s slip in the rankings “unprecedented” and said that the “American Dream” was in “jeopardy.”

“As the US struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is a good time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries,” Legatum Institute president Jeffrey Gedmin said in a statement, referring to the November 6 US presidential election.

The UK placed 13th overall on this year’s index, but was predicted to pass the US next year on the strength of its entrepreneurship and governance. Britain placed 6th and 7th, respectively, in those categories.

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