It’s official: Australia is now a genuinely more wealthy country than the USA. Not in total, of course, but according to the “Legatum Institute Index of Prosperity” shown in the most recent Time magazine article by Fareed Zakaria, which is entitled “Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?” (my issue is dated 14 March 2011, although the online version is dated 3 March 2011).
According to the full-colour map (which you can view in the Word document below or by clicking here), of the 110 nations listed and categorised, the USA has dropped from a first place tie in 2007 to number 10. Australia is officially rated number 4, following Norway (first), Denmark (second) and Finland (third). After Australia comes New Zealand (5), Sweden (6), Canada (7), Switzerland (8) and the Netherlands (9), with the USA rounding out the top ten.
Interested in seeing the raw data? The Legatum Institute “rankings page” – an interesting interactive table – makes for fascinating reading: Australia does not score particularly well in health (15th in the world), “entrepreneurship and opportunity” (13th) and safety & security (also 13th), but high rankings in education (2, behind New Zealand!), “personal freedom” and “social capital” (both fourth, again behind New Zealand) are enough to make up for some more mediocre rankings. A question: is the USA really 1st in health, given the outrageous cost of health care for the uninsured (Obama reforms notwithstanding)?
The decline of the great American empire is, I feel, premature by a very long shot, but person by person Australia is a genuinely richer – or at least more “prosperous” country than the USA. That is now clear.