Netherlands Tops ‘Good-Country’ Index

18 dec 2017

AMSTERDAM  The Netherlands has been a good country lately and getting better. It ended 2017 on top of the Good-Country list of Simon Anholt, a veteran British policy adviser. His listing rates how 163 countries contribute to the planet and the human race using 35 data points such as science, technology, culture, peace, equality and health. The aim is to change the culture of governance worldwide, to encourage more cooperation between countries. “Most of our problems are rapidly and dangerously multiplying because of globalization,” Anholt (photo) told Huffington Post recently. Climate change. Terrorism. Pandemics. Migration. Economic chaos. “What goes on in one country invariably has an impact on people in other countries. Who’s measuring that? Who’s measuring the interconnections? Most of our problems are rapidly and dangerously multiplying because of globalization. We need our governments to understand that they’re not just responsible for their own voters and taxpayers, but for every living thing on the planet.” The Netherlands has steadily worked its way up the list in recent years. It ranked 4th on the Good Country Index in 2014 and 3rd in 2015. In 2017, it took over the top spot from Sweden. The 2017 Top-10 consists entirely of West European nations. In descending order: the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Austria and Norway. The US ranks 25th. Anholt says the ranking is based on the most recent data sets available, predominantly from 2014. Crucially, the index makes visible government priorities across a range of areas and how these impact on every man, woman, child and animal on the planet. His most recent data date back to 2014, i.e. well before Donald Trump moved into the White House. The results are, therefore, pre-Trump administration. This leads Anholt to conclude that, in fact, America’s disengagement from the rest of the world began under his predecessor Barack Obama. While the index says the U.S. “still does a lot of good as well as harm outside its own borders,” the country’s scores are moving in the wrong direction The U.S. did particularly badly in peace and security _ a common characteristic among rich Western democracies, usually due to military involvement overseas and arms exports. There are several indicators within the Good Country categories. Science and Technology reflects a nation’s number of international students, accumulated Nobel prizes and patent applications. The Culture ranking is based on exports of creative goods and services and UNESCO dues in arrears. The others: International peace and security (number of UN peacekeepers, arms exports). Climate change (ecological footprint, reforestation), Prosperity and Equality (free trade, FDI outflow, development aid), Health and Wellbeing (food aid, pharmaceutical exports, donations to WHO).

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