You were surprised the US weren't in the top 5? They're not even in the top 10 mate. Economically developed countries do not neccessarily have higher standards of living. E.g. Out of the top 10 ranks in the Human Development Index '08, only 2 countries (Japan & France) are in the top 10 economically developed countries.
The US is the most economically developed country but the majorities standard of living is terrible, it's so economically powerful globally simply because THEY DON'T GIVE A **** ABOUT THEIR PEOPLE, other countries haver been limited in this way, you americans have been exploited so badly for centuries, viewed as disposable horsepower, not given basic health care, have one of the worse welfare states in the "developed" world, one of the worse education systems in the world, who's government can detain you indefinately for "terrorism", i.e. anyone who challenges the system, citizens who's only perception of the world outside their house, workplace and neibourhood, is what they understand from the TV, music and education. Considering 4 men, own and control over 80% of national media coverage, this perception of reality can easily be manipulated, especially with men like Rupert Murdoch are one of these people, who has intimate ties within the government and other multi-national corporations
You people need to do something for **** sake, the rest of the world looks in awe at how there hasn't been a revolution, at how your 2-puppet self-procliamed "democracy" (an empty word) got away with, and how did Obama get in and Wellstone dies mysteriously in a car crash and McCain instead of Ron Paul? After all those years of Reagan/Clinton/Bush they put a black face on the New World Order and your all happy? He's demanded sacrifice and promised change. What has he changed so far? Homeland security = maintained. Iraq = maintained. Afghanistan = maintained. Billions of dollars given to banks after another massive loan that the citizens offspring must pay off = maintained.The main one NO REVOLUTION = maintained. etc.