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The Greatest Nation On Earth Isn't Us

January 12, 2013 12:00 PM

The Greatest Nation On Earth Isn't Us

We Americans like to think, and in fact have been indoctrinated for decades to believe, that we are the greatest country in the world, the best at just about everything. Sadly, that hasn’t been true for quite some time. Words patriots once gave their lives for, like ‘freedom’... and ‘patriots’... have become almost meaningless.

So if you’re curious about who’s taken our crown, you might be surprised. The latest international index of 123 countries released by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank, and Germany's Liberales Institut, ranked New Zealand number one for offering the highest level of freedom worldwide, followed by the Netherlands then Hong Kong. Australia, Canada and Ireland tied for fourth spot. The survey measured the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties - freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly - in each country surveyed, as well as indicators of crime and violence, freedom of movement, legal discrimination against homosexuals, and women's freedoms. Pretty extensive stuff.

The United States tied Denmark for seventh. We didn’t even get bronze.

As for the idea that the United States is the envy of the world when it comes to free markets and business? Wrong again. The U.S. continues to lose ground against other nations in Forbes’ annual look at the Best Countries for Business. The U.S. placed second in 2009, but in 2012 it ranks 12th, trailing fellow G-8 countries Canada (5th), the United Kingdom (10th) and Australia (11th) The world’s biggest economy at $15.1 trillion scores abysmally when it comes to trade freedom and monetary freedom.

So, who did top the list for the Best Countries for Business?

New Zealand. New Zealand can boast a transparent and stable business climate that encourages entrepreneurship. New Zealand is the smallest economy in the top 10 at $162 billion, but it ranks first in personal freedom and investor protection, as well as a lack of red tape and corruption.

Okay, so at least MIT is still the best university in the entire world, we’re still first at something...Well, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, there are two thousand six hundred eighteen accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States, most of which operate privately or as part of state governments. Only fifty-four of these are in the top 200, very slightly over 2% . So who does top the educational rankings?

That would be New Zealand again, first in the world on the basis of performance in three areas: access to education, quality of education and human capital.

The annual QS World University survey ranks institutions based on scores for academic reputation, employer reputation and how many international students it has, among other things. Up to 20,000 universities from around the world were surveyed to find the top 700 academic institutions from 72 countries, the best universities in the world.

New Zealand has eight universities nationwide, with slightly less than around a half million students. According to the QS World University Rankings, two of New Zealand’s universities – Auckland and Otago – rank in the top 200 of the 700 best universities in the world, and Auckland in the top 100 (83rd and 133rd respectively). That's 25% compared to the United State's 2.06%. All eight universities rank in the top 500, with Auckland University of Technology appearing on the list for the first time this year. That’s a 100% rating.

Even when New Zealand isn’t top of the list, they’re outranking and out-performing the United States on just about any index you want to consider. How about the environment? According to the Yale University and Columbia University 2012 Environmental Performance Index at the World Economic Forum, ranking 132 countries, New Zealand placed 14th in the top 30. The United States trailed at 49th.

We rank top of the list for the most expensive health care system in the world, but dead last overall compared to six other industrialized countries - Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom – when it comes to quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives.

There are a few other things the United States tops the charts at: We’re fifth out of the top 25 countries in the world in terms of crime rate. New Zealand is 24th.

Auckland is ranked the third best city out of the top five for quality of living, after Vienna and Zurich, nothing in the United States making the list at all. Even when it’s just the Americas being ranked for quality of living overall (taking New Zealand out of the equation altogether), the top four cities are all in Canada, with Honolulu coming 28th.

Don’t even get me started on the All Blacks.

One of the smallest countries in the world is kicking our ass when it comes to actually living up to the standards we Americans pretend we still have. Isn’t it about time we stopped kidding ourselves, stopped living on past glories that mostly never were, and started actually trying to be at least as good as one of the smallest nations on earth?

by Anonymousreply 2801/23/2013

Oh no you di'int!

by Anonymousreply 101/12/2013

This comes as a surprise to you?

by Anonymousreply 201/12/2013

Deutschland über Alles, just like the song says.

by Anonymousreply 301/12/2013

That's why we moved to New Zealand. It's a great place to live and work.

by Anonymousreply 401/12/2013

If we could just get rid of the South, the US would be a much nicer place.

by Anonymousreply 501/12/2013

New Zealand rocks. The food is fresh and amazing, the wine is great, the environment is pristine, the people are friendly.

by Anonymousreply 601/12/2013

R5, so true. I wish they'd secede again. At least this time they aren't holding slaves, so the North & West Coast could let them go with a clear conscience.

I can't believe France is not at the top of this list. It should be. They probably got marked down for their law against the burqa, as if the burqa is freedom!

by Anonymousreply 701/12/2013

Your comment is right out of a playbook, R8. I see your bullshit all over Yahoo-it doesn't even matter what the topic is.

Troll.

by Anonymousreply 901/12/2013

Karl Rove is back.

by Anonymousreply 1001/12/2013

Oh, our little turd blossom....

by Anonymousreply 1101/12/2013

It's untrue, of course. New Zealanders have almost no economic freedom since their country doesn't even have a single bank they own.

by Anonymousreply 1201/12/2013

Isn't abortion illegal in Ireland? And didn't divorce only become legal there within the last twenty years?

by Anonymousreply 1301/12/2013

The only thing good about NZ is food is cheap. And that is if you like the locally produced food. Everything else is outrageously priced.

It's no small coincidence that NZ has an emmigration problem. More of it's young people under 30 leave the country than any other Westernized nation.

They have to make up for this loss by allowing Malaysians and other Pacific Islanders into the nation.

The fact is those studies you noted select only a few criteria that the US isn't #1 at. If you include ALL the criteria the US rocks.

Otherwise you wouldn't have so many Aussies, Brits, NZ and other EU nationals, not to mention the rest of the world trying to GET IN to it.

by Anonymousreply 1401/13/2013

This country isn't the greatest country in the world:

by Anonymousreply 1501/13/2013

America will never be a great country until its citizens drop the "USA! USA! We're number one! We're number one!" chanting.

That crap makes it the world's biggest high school full of spoiled, ignorant brats.

by Anonymousreply 1601/20/2013

We could be great again if we got rid of the GOP completely.

by Anonymousreply 1701/22/2013

Anyone who thinks the US is the greatest nation on earth has obviously never been outside the US. Just keep on watching your NASCAR and telling yourself that.

by Anonymousreply 1801/22/2013

We're better Christians, though--just ask us--and that's all that really matters!

by Anonymousreply 1901/22/2013

Except we're not.

by Anonymousreply 2001/22/2013

There is no great nation. Every nation has its problems.

by Anonymousreply 2101/22/2013

The Newsroom already did this. It was the first thing in the series.

by Anonymousreply 2201/22/2013

The are New Zealand owned banks, although the major banks are owned by Australian banks.

It's true a lot of young Kiwis are emigrating - the NZ economy is small and wages are higher in Australia.

by Anonymousreply 2301/22/2013

How do you get to be a member of a "think tank?" Such an annoying term. They throw it around daily on NPR. I always picture a bunch of people sitting around a conference table in a hermetically sealed underground lair....like Dr. Evil.

by Anonymousreply 2401/22/2013

NZ is cute to film Hobbit movies in but please, it's not first in anything.

by Anonymousreply 2501/22/2013

One good thing is alcohol is super expensive! New Zealand is a land where all the drunks have left.

by Anonymousreply 2601/22/2013

Any nation where football is a national obsession and where Tracy Morgan is a TV star can not be a great nation.

by Anonymousreply 2701/23/2013

The men in NZ have big meaty thighs. And guess what, the Maori were never conquered. They kept some of their lands. Nonetheless, there was discrimination and they are an underclass today.

by Anonymousreply 2801/23/2013
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