Human progress ‘goes beyond economics’

New Zealand is fourth in Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index which compares much more than economic performance:

In the foreword Sian Hansen Executive Director of the Institute writes:

The Prosperity Index tells us that the story of human progress goes beyond economics. It tells us that for nations to flourish they must provide opportunity and freedom to their citizens. It shows how access to quality healthcare and education provide the foundations on which nations can grow. It proves that effective and transparent government empowers citizens to take control of their lives. And it shows that protection from violence and oppression, as well as strong social bonds, are crucial to a thriving society. . . 

She also warns the world is becoming more dangerous:

Last year the Prosperity Index struck an optimistic tone, explaining that the world was becoming increasingly prosperous. This remains true, but the 2015 Prosperity Index reveals that the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. The rise of Islamic State has changed the nature of global security, particularly in the Middle East. The prelude to this in both Iraq and Syria was the fragmenting of social bonds. Worryingly, other countries in the region are seeing similar fissures emerging. A dramatic decline in the Safety & Security subindex in Africa and the Middle East has been driven by increased tensions and violence between different social groups as well as an increase in refugees and internally displaced persons.

Falling levels of safety and security also blight the United States’ performance this year. The US has fallen one place in the overall rankings to 11th but one finding stands out: the US ranks outside the top 30 in the Safety & Security sub-index, down two places to 33rd this year. In contrast, Canada has risen to first place in the Personal Freedom sub-index this year, reflecting high scores in measures of tolerance and civil liberties. . . 

New Zealand’s rankings were:  economy: 14; entrepreneurship and opportunity: 17; governance: 2; education: 6; health: 19; safety and security: 11; personal freedom: 2; and social capital: 1.

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