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America’s Prosperity: Slip-Sliding Away November 8, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.

The Legatum Institute in London publishes an annual ranking of the prosperity of the world’s countries. The ranking is based mainly on poll responses to questions about education, opportunity, governance, personal freedom, etc. As they themselves put it:

Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute, said: “The Legatum Prosperity Index allows us to paint a comprehensive picture of what makes a country truly successful, encompassing traditional measures of material wealth, as well as capturing citizens’ sense of wellbeing – from how safe they feel, to their perceived personal freedom. GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity.”

So how do we rank? Well, here are the results since 2007 (the first year of the Index):

Year Rank
2007 1 (tie)
2008 6
2009 9
2010 10
2011 10
2012 12

Can’t wait to see what the next 4 years bring.

(Via Gateway Pundit)


1. Mark in NJ - November 8, 2012

The top 10 (11 actually) is the best argument for socialized medicine I’ve ever seen presented on this site.

2. sandy burger - November 8, 2012

It’s not an argument, it’s a correlation.

Only the wealthiest countries can afford to artificially jack up the cost of medical care and still live well.

3. Mark in NJ - November 8, 2012

Right. And the next thing you’re gonna tell me is it’s just coincidence that those countries have the hottest, blondest chicks.

4. Tushar - November 8, 2012

Mark, you hae correlation and causation mixed up. If socialized medicine was what led to prosperity, Cuba would be the most prosperous nation on the planet.

I have a theory about countries with a strong social safety net: a strong social safety net succeeds only in a country that is not racially diverse. It is human nature to attach more weigh to other people’s opinion of themselves based upon whether they identify with that person. Thus a Swedish or Norwegian person is less likely to misuse unemployment benefits etc because to him it feels like stealing from his fellow countrymen. In a more diverse placec like France and UK (with higher proportion of immigrants from north Africa, middle east, south asia etc), there is a lesser sense of guilt about misusing welfare services. I have seen and heard accounts of recent immigrants to US freely exchanging information on how to exploit various social services. One person I heard was telling another person very elaborately how, if their visiting elderly parents fall sick, to get medical treatment for them and avoid making payments to the hospital.

Americans have generous hearts, and gullible brains. Soe people have figured out how to exploit that.

5. Michael - November 9, 2012

just coincidence that those countries have the hottest, blondest chicks.

That would actually be Poland and Croatia. I can vouch for Poland; have just heard about Croatia.

And yes, I’ve been to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, where there are some hot blonde chicks to be sure.

In my experience, if we leave “blonde” out of the equation, the highest densities of hot chicks are in Korea and Israel, based upon a sample of 30+ countries.

6. sandy burger - November 9, 2012

Michael, you ought to be ashamed of yourself objectifying the women of the world like that. Such disgraceful boorish behavior.

(Besides. Korea? Thailand. Israel? Hungary. And probably all are trumped by Venezuela, if you don’t mind being murdered.)

7. geoff - November 9, 2012

It’s not an argument, it’s a correlation.

It’s not even a correlation. The US is ranked #2 in health (second only to Luxembourg, with its population of a half a million), while Norway, Denmark, and Sweden (the top 3 countries in the survey) are ranked #4, #16, and #14, respectively. In fact, health was the US’s highest ranked category.

But that’ll change soon.

8. skinbad - November 9, 2012

Where will the Canadians that can’t wait go now?

9. sandy burger - November 9, 2012

By the way, reading Tushar’s post reminded me how much I hate the way our political language has changed, such that now “safety net” refers to programs like social security and PelosiCare.

An actual safety net (meaning something which catches those few people who “fall through the cracks” for whatever reason) is not incompatible with freedom and prosperity; even F. A. Hayek has said as much. But something like socialized medicine or Social Security is not a “safety net”. If it applies to many of us (e.g. 47% of us, to pick a number at random), it’s no “safety net”, it’s government cheese.

The fact that a few northern Euros have pulled off socialism for a few decades doesn’t mean it’ll work here, and I think Tushar is right that their cultural uniformity is part of the glue keeping it together for now. But I don’t see that kind of conformity as either possible or desirable here.

In California, the so-called “safety net” is crowding out any genuine safety net for the truly needy. A concrete example is that psychiatric hospitals routinely dump homeless schizophrenic people back onto the streets. If you haven’t seen it or known people involved, it’s hard to appreciate just how barbaric that is. There is your liberal compassion in practice. It’s illegal for them to do so, but those laws are unfunded mandates, so they get ignored, as they must. Hey, do you remember hearing that the California government was paying IOUs for a while? It was fascinating to see who was getting the IOUs, versus who was getting real money. Shocker: the genuine safety net was getting paid IOUs, while the government unions were getting cash. There is your liberal compassion in reality.

10. lauraw - November 9, 2012

If we weren’t paying so much to keep strong young people on welfare, imagine what we could do for the needy.

Oddly, I see mentally and physically disabled people out in the work force all the time. Meanwhile, the welfare state continues to fund a lifestyle of dependency for millions of sound, healthy people.

Completely nonsensical.

11. Retired Geezer - November 10, 2012

Can’t remember who said it, (Dennis Miller?).
I don’t mind a Safety Net, I just don’t want to pay for a Safety Hammock.

12. Pupster - November 10, 2012

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