Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happiness and the 'prosperoscope'

The random samples section of Science Magazine discusses the latest prosperity or 'happiness index' report of the Legatum Institute:
The results are in: Australia is the most prosperous country in the world; Yemen drags at the bottom of the list. But it's not just wealth that makes a country prosperous, according to the 2008 prosperity index, also known as the "happiness index," published last week by the Legatum Institute (LI) in Dubai (see The institute based its rankings on surveys of economic competitiveness and comparative livability from 140 countries, including factors such as capital investment and the degree of social equality.

This year, for the first time, countries' environmental efforts counted toward their scores, says LI Senior Vice President William Inboden. The institute selected an objective measurement--the ratio of developed land to land remaining in its natural state in each country--and added questions about how respondents felt about their country's environmental policies. Depending on a country's wealth, the environmental measures could count for as much as 4% of a country's prosperity score. Although Australia was the most prosperous country overall, New Zealand topped the environmental measures. The most environmentally unhappy people were Ukrainians, who particularly dislike their air quality.
You might enjoy playing with the 'prosperiscope' on the site.
"The Legatum Prosperiscope™ is a powerful interactive online tool that allows users to customise analyses across 104 countries using 22 different factors. Users can also compare countries against each other to identify their relative strengths and weaknesses. Follow the simple steps on the right to start using the Prosperiscope."

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