In a world beset by dramatic change, where many different factors impact well-being in multiple and complex ways, it is useful to assess the prosperity of nations through more than simple income-based measurements like GDP. The Legatum Prosperity Index 2010 offers a multi-faceted analysis of prosperity, examining 110 countries using 89 different variables. On November 10, 2010, GMF hosted a public event for the release of the 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index and the data concerning transatlantic relations. The Index was presented by Senior Fellow Ashley Thomas Lenihan and Research and Program Analyst Jiehae Choi, both of the Legatum Institute. Sean Mulvaney, Director of GMF’s Economic Policy Program, moderated the event.
The Index ranks Norway at 1st place globally ahead of Denmark, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand, while the United States ranks 10th, the UK places 13th, and Germany ranks 15th. The 2010 Index suggests that entrepreneurship and opportunity correlate more closely to a nation’s overall prosperity than any other factor. Twenty three out of the top 25 societies in the Index are electoral democracies, a key finding supporting the argument that it pays to be a democracy. Interestingly for European policy, the Index suggests a widening gap in prosperity within Europe, as Baltic countries continue to improve the foundations of prosperity while southern European countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain) score much lower than the other Western European nations. The findings of this year’s Index also suggest that in order for emerging economies to develop into prosperous nations, the BRICs will have to foster improvements in areas beyond the economic.
The presentations at the GMF event was followed by a lively debate of the issues, a discussion about how transatlantic policymakers might better understand emerging trends at home, and the ways in which these trends might impact upon transatlantic and intra-European relations. The discussion was especially timely, as recent events - the global financial crisis, domestic political upheaval and debates over immigration - have shaken transatlantic populations in profound ways.
Please click here to listen to a podcast interview discussing the Index’s methodology and major findings for transatlantic audiences, conducted by Sean Mulvaney with Dr. Lenihan and Ms. Choi.