I came across two interesting global lists recently.
The first is the best places to be born in 2013, put together by the Economist magazine, basically which places in the world are the best to be born and grow up in. The list is based on the society’s prosperity, security, social services and life-satisfaction survey. The list is topped by Switzerland, followed by Australia and Norway. Hong Kong and Taiwan come in at 10 and 14 respectively, out of 80 countries. I should feel good then, though the only tangible benefits I can say for being born in HK are being able to visit many countries easily, and the nebulous status of being part of a rising power, whilst not exactly being subject to this power’s laws and regulations. The worst country to be born in at number 80 is Nigeria, apparently, while surprisingly, for me at least, Kenya is second-worst.
Also, Transparency International released their 2012 list of corrupt countries, which lists the countries from least corrupt to the worst. The least corrupt country in the world for 2012 is Denmark, followed by Finland and New Zealand. Meanwhile, China and Trinidad, two countries I have strong links to, both tied for 80th place, which puts them in the middle of world corruption standings. That’s not good for either nation, especially for Trinidad which on paper is a prosperous middle-class country but has a society and government that lags far behind. It’s especially bad because Trinidad’s NE neighbor Barbados is ranked at 15, which is highly admirable and demonstrates that the easygoing Caribbean lifestyle doesn’t necessarily facilitate corruption. Hong Kong comes in at 14, while Taiwan is 37. The most corrupt nation is Somalia, which probably shouldn’t be considered a true country given its weak government, fractured society, and almost nonexistent national infrastructure.
To be honest, these kinds of lists, including quality of life for instance, are often highly predictable. Western European, or specifically Scandinavian ones, North American (US and Canada), and East Asian nations always rank high, with Australia and a few smaller nations like Singapore also there as well. There’s no doubt these are the most prosperous and advanced societies to live in.
So I guess whatever my problems, I guess I should always feel happy I was born in one of the “best places to be born” and live in one of the least corrupt regions in the world, right? Hmmmm.