News / Science & Technology

New Index Ranks Countries' 'Goodness'

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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid