According to private bank, Legatum, Norway is the world’s most prosperous country, or more specifically it is at number one on the 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index. One of Legatum’s goals is to restore faith in capitalism. Norway is a socialist nation, but that seems to be beside the point.
Many other lists created to showcase the countries that are the best governed, with the best quality of life for its citizens, and that provide the best environment for businesses to succeed put the Scandinavian nations in the top spots. Legatum is no different. Its top 10 include Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland.
Although the Legatum research yields some of the same “best nations” as other lists do, the organization believes its overall approach is different. It is not based on just the ability to be rich and live in a country that favors the rich. Like Gallup, it considers “well being” (even though Panama is number one on the Gallup list, Denmark and Sweden are found in its top 10). The Legatum analysis focuses on personal freedom, health, safety, entrepreneurship and “opportunity” along with well being.
Norway gets good marks for education, its economy and what Legatum calls “social capital” (well being and income as they are associated with social networks and relationships).
The countries at the top of the Legatum list should not be a surprise, given the organization’s faith in capitalism. The media alway notes the lack of the U.S. presence on any such top 10 list. The United States is, however, 11th out of 142 on the Legatum list. Canada is fifth and Australia sixth. Combine these two with the United Kingdom in 15th place, and the former British Empire ranks nearly as well as the Scandinavians.
China is 52nd on the list, which is only reasonable for an analysis based largely on developed capitalist countries. Russia, another foe of capitalism, ranks 58th.
The long-term presence of certain countries on all these lists, no matter what methodology is used, that are considered the “worst” or “bottom” fall into certain regions. Legatum’s analysis shows that the most troubled countries in Africa are not homes to functioning capitalism or well being. Zimbabwe holds the 128th spot, Liberia is at 132nd, Sudan at 134th, Chad at 139th and the Central African Republic is in the 142nd and last position. It does worse even than Afghanistan, which is just above it in the ranking.
Among the things that the Legatum survey and other reports like it do not need to point out is that living in Norway is better than surviving in the Central African Republic.
Methodology: The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks countries according to their performance across eight equally weighted subindexes:
- Entrepreneurship and opportunity
- Safety and security
- Personal freedom
- Social capital