News / Science & Technology

New Index Ranks Countries' 'Goodness'

The
The "Good Country Index" ranked Ireland as the top country.

Related Articles

Security Tops Agenda in Algeria During Egypt Leader's First Foreign Trip

On his first international trip since being elected, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi seeks Algeria's support to counter Islamist militancy in north Africa

Photogallery Kerry: Russia Must Prove Commitment to Ukraine Peace

US, European allies refrain from imposing new sanctions but want Kremlin to press rebels to disarm

Video USAID Unveils New Efforts to Reduce Child and Maternal Deaths

Agency to spend up to $2.9 billion of its resources to continue fight for maternal and child health in 24 countries

A new index, which attempts to rank the countries of the world by their “goodness,” is turning heads.

The Good Country Index is the work of independent policy advisor Simon Anholt and, by his reckoning, Ireland is at the top of the heap in terms of goodness, followed by Finland and Switzerland. Iraq, Vietnam and Libya ranked at the bottom of the 125-country list.

The U.S. came in at number 21, under Italy and above Costa Rica.

Does that mean Ireland is the best place in the world to live?

Not according to Anholt, who tweeted “Some media are calling #goodcountryindex a ‘best country to live in’ survey. No!! It measures countries' contribution to humanity & planet.”

He went a little further on the group’s website.

“The Good Country Index doesn’t measure what countries do at home: not because I think these things don’t matter, of course, but because there are plenty of surveys that already do that,” he wrote.

“What the Index does aim to do is to start a global discussion about how countries can balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world, because this is essential for the future of humanity and the health of our planet,” said Anholt.

To measure a country’s “goodness,” the index considered several factors, including “science and technology,” “culture,” “international peace and security,” “world order,” “planet and climate,” “prosperity and equality,” and “health and wellbeing.”

The group says it used “35 reliable datasets which track the way that most countries on earth behave.”

Some countries were not included because not enough data was available, according to Anholt.

The index, which Anholt called “enormously tricky,” has yielded some surprising results.

Kenya, for example, was ranked 26th, which many found surprising.

Anholt tweeted his take.

“My favourite result from the #goodcountry Index, Kenya in Top 30. Being a good country isn't about money,” he wrote.

Another example is Malta, which ranks third in the culture category, compared to the U.S., which ranked 41 – just above Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. appears to have been penalized for lacking “creative services exports.”

A reason some smaller and/or poorer countries rank so highly is because “each country’s score in the Good Country Index is divided by its Gross Domestic Product [GDP] so that smaller and poorer countries aren’t unduly penalized in the ranking for their limited ability to ‘make a difference’ in the world.”

In the international peace and security category, Egypt ranks first, followed by Jordan and several other African and Latin American states. This appears to be because of their participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions and lack of arms sales.

For example, Nigeria, which is dealing with a violent insurgency, is ranked near the top of the index’s international peace category but contributes troops to UN missions.

Anholt told VOA he has not received any “serious academic” criticism of the index, but has been deluged with critics online, saying he’s received 200 to 300 “angry” emails, some up to 4,000 words long, from people asking why their country wasn’t included.

“It never fails to strike me how passionately people feel about their country when they see it in a ranking,” he said. “It stirs up strong feelings.”

One criticism that he’s heard repeatedly is how Russia doesn’t rank last given the recent annexation of Crimea and ongoing tension with Ukraine.

Anholt says the index is a “snapshot what your country was contributing in 2010.”

Even if the data were more recent, Anholt says that for something like the annexation of Crimea, “there’s not an easy way to turn it into numbers.”

He said he is toying with the idea of making the index a living document, and that the “holy grail” would be that it would be able to reflect episodes.”

“This cannot be an academic piece of work,” he said. “There isn’t enough data. The only answer [to criticism] is I’m trying to make a point.”

While the index may be unconventional, Anholt hopes it will stimulate action.

“Today as never before, we desperately need a world made of good countries,” he wrote on the website. “We will only get them by demanding them: from our leaders, our companies, our societies, and of course from ourselves.”

Anholt says that biggest challenges facing the world are “global and borderless,” citing climate change, terrorism, pandemics and others.

“All of these problems stretch across national borders, so the only way they can be properly tackled is through international efforts,” he writes on the website. “The trouble is, most countries carry on behaving as if they were islands, focusing on developing domestic solutions to domestic problems. We’ll never get anywhere unless we start to change this habit.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dude
July 14, 2014 12:15 PM
what a bunch of junk. America will always be #1. Thats why everybody is trying to get here. I don't Ireland will have an illegal immigration problem any time soon

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 28, 2014 4:09 AM
Hurray Ireland! I'm sure this list will change after my brother Irishmen reads this and have a great reason to hit the pubs tonight!!! Drinking and fighting, those were the best days of my life! Oooops, I should say when men knew how to fight and bond.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs