10/8/2012 5:06 PM ET|
World's best and worst economies
New data from the World Economic Forum put the US at No. 7. Which country is on top?
For most of the 20th century, the United States was considered the world's economic superpower. And as recently as four years ago, the World Economic Forum would have agreed. In 2008, it ranked the United States as the most competitive economy in the world.
But things change. The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 (.pdf file) asserts that the U.S. economy today is the world's seventh best in terms of competitiveness.
The United States performs well in nearly all of the economic measures examined in the report. But indebtedness and political gridlock are growing problems, says Kevin Steinberg, the forum's chief operating officer, who notes that Americans' confidence in elected officials declined after the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis.
This year's report places each of the 144 countries surveyed into one of three economic categories.
"Factor-driven" economies are the least developed; they rely on low-skilled labor and natural resources.
More developed countries are considered "efficiency-driven," because they are organized toward the goal of improving output.
The most developed economies are "innovative," with a focus on improving technology and developing new products and ideas.
To create each country's Global Competitiveness Index score, the WEF ranked more than 100 economic indicators, which were divided into 12 broad categories, or pillars, that measure competitiveness. The economic indicators and pillars were then scored on a scale of one to seven. To rank the countries, some economic measures were weighted more heavily than others, depending on how the economy was categorized.
The most-competitive countries ranked among the best in technological readiness, business sophistication and higher education. The least-competitive countries scored lowest in such factors as institutions, infrastructure, health and education.
There were exceptions, however. Many competitive countries had less-than-stellar scores on macroeconomic environment -- an economic measure reflecting the broader economy -- because of high debt levels. Public debt, according to Steinberg, "is definitely an obstacle for many of the highly developed and competitive countries."
Here's a look at the World Economic Forum's most- and least-competitive countries. In analyzing the rankings, the website 24/7 Wall St. included data from the World Bank and the World Health Organization.
The top 3
No. 3: Finland
GCI score: 5.55
GDP per capita: $49,350 (12th highest)
Debt as a percentage of GDP: 48.6 (52nd highest)
Percentage of individuals using the Internet: 89.4 (seventh highest)
Infant mortality rate: 2.4 per 1,000 live births (seventh lowest)
The country has the second-most innovative economy in the world, according to the WEF report, behind Switzerland's.
Finland scores the highest in terms of the availability of scientists and engineers. Finland's educational system is also impressive; the WEF asserts that the country has the planet's best primary education, and the second-best math and science programs in higher education.
No. 2: Singapore
GCI score: 5.67
GDP per capita: $49,271 (13th highest)
Debt as a percentage of GDP: 100.8 (10th highest)
Percentage of individuals using the Internet: 75.0 (24th highest)
Infant mortality rate: 2.1 per 1,000 live births (third lowest)
Americans fed up with their elected officials might want to consider moving to Singapore; it has the highest rank in terms of the trust in politicians and is also No. 1 in terms of the quality of its legal and administrative frameworks.
Singapore also ranks near the top in market efficiency, infrastructure, higher education and financial markets development.
But an inflation rate of 5.2% weighs on Singapore's competitiveness.
No. 1: Switzerland
GCI score: 5.72
GDP per capita: $81,161 (fourth highest)
Debt as a percentage of GDP: 48.6 (51st highest)
Percentage of individuals using the Internet: 85.2 (10th highest)
Infant mortality rate: 4.1 per 1,000 live births (24th lowest)
The country received a 6.6 out of 7 in the quality of its infrastructure, the highest of any country in the WEF survey. Switzerland also scored at the top in terms of cooperation in labor-employer relations and the availability of financial services.
Its education system also contributed to Switzerland's competitiveness.
The WEF report points out, though, that while the university enrollment rate among the Swiss is improving, it lags behind other "high-innovation countries."
Go to 24/7 Wall St. for more on the world's most-competitive economies.
More from 24/7 Wall St.:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Our country is being "dismantled" bit by bit the rest of the world is aware. We continue dancing following the pied piper like nothing was wrong. The coal miners have lost their jobs, our grocery shopping becomes more and more costly, gasoline continues to go higher and higher and everything is more costly. It is very diffficult to obtain a drilling permit (oil) so now we are more dependent on foreign countries. ( I thought the idea was to become more independent) . Oh how do you dare blame president Obama. He says oil production has increased, yes, no thanks to him but to private land owners but he takes the credit. Don't you dare blame President Obama.. Medicare soon will be Worthless for he President appropiated millions from Medicare to pay for his plan for which reimbursement to Physicians will be less and is already low. You will be able to keep your Dr?
The world has lost respect for our country why? We disclose all sorts of information and who cares what happens to people who have helped us? We abandon four Americans to die in a Consulate that the administration already knew was in danger and according to an interview at CNN they had requested more security and were denied?
I vote for President Obama, I will not make the same mistake this year.
Once again the saliente facts are not included.
Finland 5.4 million people, Switzerland 7.8 million, Singapore 5.2 million
All together less than 1/2 of California
Why is money so F***ING important? Why is it more important then taking care of our families? Why are the majority of families that are even still together have to both work to make ends meet? Why can one parent not stay home to take care of the children, the house, prepare food so we can get the proper diet, pay bills, etc. Why does every single person have to do everything for themselves? Why be part of a society in the first place?
Why is output so important when we are running out of natural resources in which to produce products with? Why is growth so important? Why are when in a money war? Why not just have a real war if people's lives are at stake? Who decides who lives and who dies, and why? how does that not make us like Hitler rounding up people for the gas chambers? It was not just Jewish people in those camps either.
I bet Romney will fix everything...just like he says. I can't wait for low taxes and $1.50 gas at the pump! Praise the laawrd Romney is gonna be president! I drive 100 miles one way to work, to make $8.00 an hour under our current president and that ain't right! I have 5 kids to feed and my husband likes to patronize the bar on the corner cuz it stimulates the economy. Mitt will make this all go away and we can live the good life once again.
Wow, you are so right!
We are brainwashed twits, for we believe what our current administration says and is attempting to socialize us more and more.
The uniqueness of America consists on independent thinking and things go wrong when we follow like sheeps our so called shepperd. Thanks so much for your warning.
Wake up America.
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