We’re Number One! We’re Number One?


Americans often boast proudly about how their country is the greatest nation on Earth. But how does that claim fare under critical analysis?

In life expectancy, the U.S. ranks 50th out of 224, between Wallis and Futuna and Albania. If you’d like to live long and prosper, you should move to Macau. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

Among adults age  25 to 34, the U.S. is ninth among industrialized nations in the share of its population that has at least a high school degree. Top-ranked countries included Finland, Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada and Belgium.

What about democracy? That should be an easy win for the U.S. Hardly. The U.S. comes in 17th. Sweden is number 1. http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/Democracy_Index_2007_v3.pdf

In a measure of political corruptness where #1 is the least corrupt, the U.S. ranked 18th. The same study judged Denmark to be squeaky clean and Somalia to be severely tainted. Note: I am not making any statement about the morality of individuals in any of these countries, that is not what’s being measured. This is a measure of the perceived level of corruption within the governments of these countries based on surveys.

However, the U.S. does rank #1 in a few categories, including global competitiveness, e-readiness, and patents filed per year. I hesitate to include the last one, as its been measured by the U.S. Patent Office, and that doesn’t seem unbiased. In case you’re wondering, e-readiness refers to the ability of a country to leverage digital communication for economic and social development. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_rankings_of_the_United_States.

Perhaps it’s time to stop shouting “We’re number 1,” unless we follow that with the less inspiring “in e-readiness according to The Economist.”

[Image courtesy of http://blogs.oracle.com/talkingidentity/2008/08/%5D



  1. #1 by bhatty on November 9, 2009 - 8:49 am

  2. #2 by asad123 on November 9, 2009 - 10:13 am

    While it’s true that according to the World Bank, the U.S. is #1 in nominal GDP, the European Union is a close second. And based on the figures you cited, the EU leads the U.S. in nominal GDP according to the International Monetary Fund and the CIA Factbook. In the past, European nations were considered individually, but with the growing unity within the EU, many authorities now treat the EU as one entity.

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