Newsweek ranks Finland number one country
The country where I quite want to be
Your mountains so lofty
Your treetops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all, Finland has it all
Newsweek magazine has confirmed that there's more to Finland than lofty mountains and forests. In its newly published country ranking Finland topped the list with an overall score of 89.3 (Switzerland - another country with lofty mountains and forests - came second with a score of 89).
Rather than relying on the crude measurement of gross national product (with all the perversities that arise from including activities that very frequently reduce rather than increase human well-being), Newsweek has undertaken a massive research exercise, with an advisory board including globally renowned specialists, comparing performance across such matters as healthy life expectancy, access to education, unemployment rates, family income inequality, homicide rates, economic diversification and innovation. You can see the full list of indicators here.
Success is never based on a single factor, but it is clear that those countries which invest most heavily in developing their social capital -- that is their people -- perform far better than those that invest less. Social inequality also matters. And it is no coincidence that Nordic countries perform so much better than some of their European and American counterparts. The former use their high tax revenues to invest heavily in education, infrastructure and social security.
Monty Python's memorable lampoon of Finland missed out on the crucial ingredient: despite the grumbles of some tax-payers (and the tax avoidance industry), tax is a vital ingredient of national success.