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<<<mumble>>> The World's Best Countries... <<<grumble>>>

 
 
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 05:44 pm
Heard about this Newsweek article from Stephen Colbert in yesterday's Colbert Report.
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/interactive-infographic-of-the-worlds-best-countries.html

They rank 100 countries and the US is ranked ... <<<grrrrr>>> at 11! Mad

Australia? You're number 4!! You lucky dogs! Very Happy

And below is a great resource for checking some of the facts of each respective country:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/


Are you surprised by any of the listed countries' respective ranks? Do you generally agree with their criteria and ranking system? How should they be ranking countries in your mind?

 
Dutchy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 07:41 pm
@tsarstepan,
If they had included climate we would have been number one! Laughing
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 07:42 pm
Tsar, are you surprised?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 08:04 pm
@littlek,
Surprised? Not really. I figured feigning surprise might get more reaction to the thread. They [a2k] must have called my bluff.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 08:05 pm
I like the interactive graph. Some of the stats are surprising.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 09:25 pm
Well - we know it's a good place to live - but we just don't go on and on about it. (unlike some) {many}
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 09:32 pm
@margo,
We all know that Australian cats are smarter then their canine counterparts. Smile

You know... dingoes eating babies and such. Silly dingoes! Babies are for football practice not lunch! Cool
margo
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 09:42 pm
@tsarstepan,
Not all dingoes eat babies.......

Not all sharks eat surfers, either.

We put about these rumours of danger to keep the riff raff (and Murricans) out!
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 09:51 pm
@margo,
And we tell them we live in igloos, moose walk about our streets and we eat whale blubber Smile I think it works!
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 10:16 pm
Sure, Mame. Just like we tell them we hafta circle the wagons at night to keep the Injuns away.

We've got enough people here already.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 10:17 pm
@Eva,
I agree.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 10:20 pm
@tsarstepan,
NEWSWEEK Magazine
With Best Countries Like These…
Why cold, dark, small, and depressive nations top the rankings.
by Andrei Codrescu
August 16, 2010

I used to eat at a Scandinavian cafeteria in San Francisco that called itself a “smorgasbord” and advertised its reindeer meatballs over pasta as superior to the Italian meatballs at the U.S. Cafe next door. This place was just outside Chinatown. It also had Swedish meatballs, but if there was a difference only a Finn could tell for sure. After the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Gypsy music from Slovenia under the direction of a Japanese conductor in Salt Lake City, this is my second-favorite example of the great American smorgasbord.

The word may have originated in Sweden, but looking over the metrics for “best countries”—where Sweden is No. 3 and Finland No. 1, Norway No. 6 and Denmark No. 10—I find it hard to imagine just how much variety that Northern European buffet holds. Why is it that the Nordics always dominate such lists, anyhow? Since it’s dark and cold outside for most of the year, the smorgasbord itself must be an attempt to offset tedium, angst, and monochromatism. Even so, there couldn’t be that many kinds of pickled herring, smoked fish, dark rye bread, and mustards on the smorgasbord, be-cause we know from the 1987 movie Babette’s Feast that a French woman on the run in Scandinavia after the Paris Commune turned the austere locals into insane bons vivants by means of spices. Also, as Ingmar Bergman’s movies and Stieg Larsson’s novels show, Scandinavian angst is nothing to laugh about. Pass the vodka, the incest, and the noose.
Illustration by Frank Chimero

Still, metrics are metrics, and art is subjective, so let’s try another tack. Intuitively, one would think that people who are warm most of the year would be better off than people who are not. Yet Finland is in the No. 1 spot, and tropical Burkina Faso dead last at 100. The link between freezing and a high ranking becomes more explicable when the following dots are connected: a heated classroom is better than being outside chopping trees, hence education is important; moving briskly is good preventive medicine, thus health is robust; quality of life improves immensely when one must get as close to one’s beloved as possible to fend off the chill; the political environment is likewise better when governance is kept simple and equitable because it’s too cold to fight in the streets; and finally, economic dynamism is bound to be high among peoples who have learned to combat frostbite with a maximum of movement and the least expense of calories.

A large portion of Finland’s well-being is also the result of its historical reputation for fierceness and diplomacy; it has had to fight and appease both the Russians and the Germans. Switzerland, at No. 2 on the “best countries” list, shares a similar history: squeezed between warring powers, it looked most appetizing to its French, German, Austrian, and Italian neighbors. The Swiss Alps are very good for health, Swiss banks are (or were, until recently) very good for hiding ill-gotten gains, and its so-called neutrality made it an excellent place for enemy combatants to do business and spy on each other. All these reasons, combined with a reputation for martial valor, enabled the Swiss to thrive and plan; the Alps are honeycombed by tunnels stocked with food that would enable every Swiss citizen to survive a nuclear war. Switzerland is a Swiss-cheese country hiding an underground smorgasbord.

The world’s “best countries” seem to have this in common: they avoid war, they live in the dark, and they maintain a steady state of depressive and productive activity. No wonder, then, that we in the United States rank a pathetic No. 11. We are the only country in the world that has written “the pursuit of happiness” into its founding document, thus guaranteeing that we’ll never be satisfied. We are a geographically and socially diverse nation doomed by law and custom to optimism. We are not too healthy, are quite belligerent, and we borrow too much without thinking much about how we’ll pay it back. To achieve better metrics we’d need to tolerate a lot more (smorgas) boredom.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 11:00 pm
@Eva,
We circle the pickups. Them as only got one pickup have to drive in circles all night. You were both probably wondering why we drive the way we do. That's it.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 11:47 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
That really was a smörgåsbord full of preconceived opinions by a cook who does not know too much about the subject.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Aug, 2010 11:55 pm
@saab,
Makes you wonder if he's ever been outside of San Francisco
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 12:02 am
@tsarstepan,
I'm surprised we in the US are so high, but Germany is a large place with its own struggles. Eh, I fancy some places lower on the barometer.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 01:11 am
@tsarstepan,
I'm surprised we rank above canada!
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 01:13 am
@dlowan,
Well, what the heck? Sudan didn't even make the list.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 03:01 am
@roger,
I'm surprised that you're surprised that Sudan didn't make the list. Shocked
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 06:42 am
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:

I'm surprised that you're surprised that Sudan didn't make the list. Shocked


He's a Rat already.
0 Replies
 
 

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