The wise people at the World Economic Forum (WEF) have published a list that ranks states on their ‘competitiveness’. I have no idea what competitiveness means, and I usually don’t trust these rankings, but there are some interesting bits.
Switzerland is ranked highest, while the US has fallen to second. Nordic states – Sweden (4th), Denmark (5th) and Finland (6th) – are rated highly, with Singapore third, Germany at 7, Japan 8, Canada 9 and the Netherlands 10th. The UK is at 13, dropping one position from last year. According to the WEF, ‘the United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has continued its fall from last year, moving down one more place this year to 13th, mainly attributable to continuing weakening of its financial markets.’
Britain does badly on indices such as ‘burden of government regulation’ (86th out of 133), ‘wastefulness of government spending’ (75), ‘business costs of terrorism’ (113), ‘business costs of crime and violence’ (73), ‘government deficit’ (117), ‘national savings rate’ (92), ‘government debt’ (96) ‘extent and effect of taxation’ (84) and ‘soundness of banks’ (126). Otherwise Britain performs reasonably well across the spectrum: it also means that there aren’t any specific areas that Britain truly beats the world. The only indices in which Britain comes joint top are ‘business impact of malaria’ and ‘malaria incidence’ (which may change with global warming). All in all, sort out the dodgy banks, government spending, save more and the world is your oyster?