If one accepts the findings of the 2019 Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, the age of colonial states and super powers is over. The World’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are ranked 34 and 37, respectively. Germany leads the G7 nations, but only places 15 overall. Only two non-European nations, New Zealand (12) and Canada (19) are in the top ten. The World’s most sustainable nations are Scandinavian.
Global Sustainable Competitiveness
“Natural Capital: the given natural environment, including the availability of resources, and the level of the depletion of those resources.
“Social Capital: health, security, freedom, equality and life satisfaction within a country.
“Resource Management: the efficiency of using available resources as a measurement of operational competitiveness in a resource-constraint World.
“Intellectual Capital: the capability to generate wealth and jobs through innovation and value-added industries in the globalised markets
“Governance Efficiency: Results of core state areas and investments – infrastructure, market and employment structure, the provision of a framework for sustained and sustainable wealth generation” – The Global Index
Scandinavia’s Sustainable Competitiveness.
Scandinavia leads the world in terms of Social Capital, which translates into free expression, low crime rates and a good health care system. The top five nations in this category are Finland (58.8), Norway (58.6), Iceland (58.4), Sweden (58.3), and Switzerland (57.8). Denmark trails in 11th place (55.3).
This is the fourth year in a row that Sweden ranks first overall in the index, with an overall score of 60.6. It’s highest marks are:
- Intellectual Capital: – The Swedes are ranked second (66.1), behind South Korea (72.9).
- Resource Intensity: #5
- Natural Capital: #5
Sweden’s poorest mark was in Government Efficiency, where it ranked 70 (just ahead of the USA).
Europe’s Sustainable Competitiveness
All but two of the world’s top ranked 20 nations are in Europe,. The leaders are all small nations like the five Scandinavian nations listed above, Switzerland, Estonia (54.9), Luxembourg (54.5), Latvia (54.4) and Croatia (54.2).
G7’s Sustainable Competitiveness
The G7 Nations, who supposedly lead the Western World, trail behind.
After dominating the World economy for decades after the Second World War, the United States looks like an aging super-power in decline.
- Intellectual capital – 15
- Natural Capital: – 46
- Government Efficiency – 71
- Resource Intensity – 102
- Social Capital: – “The USA, due to comparable high crime rates, low availability of health services, and rising inequality, is ranked 142, just below Guinea-Bissau and above South Sudan.”
Canada made the top 20, largely because it placed 9th in terms of Natural Capital. Other marks:
- Intellectual Capital – 29
- Social Capital – 41
- Government Efficiency – 73, right after Egypt and the USA.
- Resource Intensity – 80
Germany leads the G7 nations with scores of:
- Government Efficiency – 5
- Social Capital – 9
- Intellectual Capital – 11
- Resource Intensity – 77
- Natural Capital – 131
“Asian nations (South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and China) lead the Intellectual Capital ranking. However, achieving sustained prosperity in these countries might be compromised by Natural Capital constraints and current high resource intensity/low resource efficiency.”
“Of the large emerging economies (BRICs), China is ranked 37, Brazil 49, Russia 51, and India 130. “
Top photo credit: Malmö, Sweden – by Maria Eklind via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)