What is the best functioning country in the world? What government operates most efficiently? Which nation best serves its citizens and the people of the earth?
To statistically break down country performance on a global scale, I established seven criteria for important things that good countries have:
1. High Wealth
2. Low Wealth Inequality
3. A Free, Democratic Government
4. Quality Human Resources and A High Level of Development
5. Low Carbon Emissions
6. A Happy, Long-Living Population
7. A Safe Society and a Peaceful Government
These seven criteria are vital to a happy, healthy, and thriving population, and fortunately, each of these criteria has a quantifiable metric that goes along with it – GDP per Capita, the Gini Coefficient, the Democracy Index, the Human Development Index, CO2 Emissions per Capita, the World Happiness Report, and the Global Peace Index, respectively.
To combine all of these criteria into one singular metric, I’ve created the following equation:
This equation, which I’ve dubbed the Blank Coefficient, will tell us how well a country treats their people and environment – the higher score the better!
NOTE: Certain countries, such as North Korea and the UAE, are excluded due to missing data on certain metrics. In total, 144 countries were analyzed.
I’d also like to clarify that the added integers (e.g. “+6”) are to “dilute” the results so that one metric doesn’t completely sway the entire equation. All metrics have a 50% differential between the maximum and minimum except for the Democracy Index, which I’ve given added weight (150% differential) due to the polar differences between authoritarian regimes and free democracies.
So…what are the best performing governments in the world? Let me show you:
The following are the results of the Blank Coefficient, my original metric of a country’s success with democracy, peacefulness, economic well-being, development, health, happiness, and eco-friendliness. Scores range from Yemen (438) to Switzerland (3,686).
As you read, remember that these results are not based off of a country’s success in one element of society, but rather success in a combination of them all.
Extremely High Success (Scores of 2,700 to 3,700)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Canada.
High Success (Scores of 2,000 to 2,700)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Belgium, Australia, Czech Republic, Singapore, United Kingdom, Slovenia, France, Spain, Japan, Slovakia, Taiwan, Italy, Mauritius, Portugal, Uruguay, Lithuania, South Korea, Latvia, Costa Rica, Romania.
Mildly High Success (Scores of 1,500 to 2,000)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Poland, Hungary, Chile, Croatia, United States, Cyprus, Israel, Argentina, Panama, Estonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Greece, Indonesia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Albania, Malaysia, Serbia, Jamaica, Peru, Mongolia, Tunisia.
Average Success (Scores of 1,200 to 1,500)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Benin, India, Philippines, Colombia, Thailand, Bhutan, Nicaragua, Botswana, Paraguay, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Guatemala, Belarus, Morocco, Georgia, Ghana, Turkey.
Mildly Low Success (Scores of 1,000 to 1,200)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Venezuela, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Zambia, Armenia, Namibia, Ukraine, Jordan, Senegal, Tanzania, Qatar, Malawi, Palestine, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar, Vietnam, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Kenya.
Low Success (Scores of 750 to 1,000)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Gabon, South Africa, Pakistan, Guinea, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Mali, Egypt, Mozambique, Madagascar, Liberia, China, Nigeria, Iraq, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Laos, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iran, Niger, Republic of Congo.
Extremely Low Success (Scores of 400 to 750)
(in order from highest to lowest scores): Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Haiti, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad, Syria.
—To see the full spreadsheet of raw data and exact scores, click HERE.—
What should we take away from this Blank Coefficient ranking? Well, the best-functioning countries are the Western European democracies, specifically Switzerland (*first place*) and the Nordic region. Spanning the “upper middle” is Latin America and Eastern Europe, while South Asia occupies much of the middle. The “lower middle” is taken by East Asia and North Africa, while the very bottom comprises Western Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States is placed shockingly low, at #38.
I think we can all agree that the seven criteria listed above – environment, wealth, equality, happiness, development, democracy, and peace – are all good things that are the key ingredients to a successful society.
How can we get there? Let’s take a lesson from the leaders, Switzerland and the Nordics: Regulate the fossil fuel industry, rebuild our infrastructure, have fair, popular vote-based elections that are publicly funded, and invest in the people through job creation programs, universal health care, and tuition free education. Western Europe is doing all of these, and the Blank Coefficient shows how much it’s paying off.
By setting the Nordic countries as a goal, perhaps we can make this world a more equal, democratic, and prosperous place! The future is in our hands.