Archive for December, 2008

Australia ranked number one in prosperity index

December 22, 2008

Australia ranked number one spot in prosperity index

Australia has topped the rankings in a prosperity index of more than 100 countries, with its quality of life and economic strength pushing it into number one spot.

The Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index of 104 nations measures the material health of a country, including wealth, quality of life and life satisfaction.

Australia has topped the 2008 index, ahead of Austria and Finland in that order.

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Report claim that “(Australia) has reinvented itself as a wealthy, service-oriented economy with good scores on liveability indicators, including health, charitable giving and effective governance,” Legatum said.”Strong norms or civic participation, robust health, and plenty of leisure time contribute to the high liveability ranking.” While Asian powerhouses Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong scored well economically, their livability dragged down their performance.

According to Vice president of the institute, Dr William Inboden, said Australia had the fundamentals right.”True prosperity consists of more than money – it also includes happiness, health and liberty,” he said.

“The Prosperity Index shows that in addition to economic success, a society’s prosperity is based on strong families and communities, political and religious liberty, education and opportunity, and a healthy environment.

“The Australian government earns high scores on corruption control and overall effectiveness, supporting the country’s quality of life in many areas.”Strong civic participation by Australian citizens furthermore contributes to the high levels of life satisfaction.

“Bottom of the list was Yemen, with Zambia and Zimbabwe not faring much better.The financial crisis-racked United States was rated equal fourth, alongside Germany and Singapore.

Findings

The key drivers of differences between countries in levels of material wealth vary according to their level of development. For poorer countries (those with average incomes of less than US $10,000 per capita), where increasing material wealth is a particular priority, the most important components of economic competitiveness are:

· Government Effectiveness

· Levels of Education

· Growth in Invested Capital

· Low Costs of Starting a Business

· Commercialisation of Innovation

· Low Dependence on Foreign Aid

· Low Dependence on Commodity Exports

· Economic Openness

For richer countries (those with incomes greater than US $20,000 per capita) that wish to experience continued economic growth the most important components of competitiveness are:

· Invested Capital

· Education

· Entrepreneurship

· Commercialisation of Innovation

The drivers of differences between countries in their levels of life satisfaction also vary according to their level of development. In richer countries, where moving beyond material wealth to broader wellbeing is an important goal, the most important components of comparative liveability are:

· Continued High Levels of Income

· Good Health

· Political Rights and Civil Liberties

· Freedom of Choice

· Charitable Giving

· Family Life

· Equality of Opportunity

· Pleasant Natural Environment

· Community Life

· Religious Freedom

Many poor countries have surprisingly high levels of wellbeing, because traditional social strengths can compensate, at least somewhat, for low average standards of living. In poor countries, the most important components of comparative liveability are:

· Family Life

· A Warm Climate

· Religious Faith

The 2008 Prosperity Index finds that both individuals and governments have a role to play in promoting national prosperity. Governments alone cannot create nor mandate prosperity, but they can foster an environment that encourages prosperity through wise policies.

It is individuals, however, who must choose to take ownership of their lives and enhance their individual prosperity. A website dedicated to measuring personal prosperity, the Personal Prosperiscope, has been created at www.myprosperity.com.

Rankings

1.  Australia  2.  Austria 2.  Finland 4.  Germany 4.  Singapore 4.  United States 7.  Switzerland 8.  Hong Kong 9.  Denmark 9.  New Zealand 11.  Netherlands 12.  Sweden 13.  Japan 14.  Norway 14.  France 14.  Belgium 14.  Canada 14.  United Kingdom 19.  Israel 20.  Ireland

The 2008 Prosperity Index includes both factors driven by individual choice, such as volunteering and charitable giving, factors driven by the choices of policymakers, such as economic openness and good governance, and factors influenced by both, such as health

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