US Falls To 12th Place In Prosperity Index

For the first time, the US is no longer in the top tier of a global prosperity index compiled by the Legatum Institute, a London think tank.

America has fallen to 12 in the 2012 Legatum rankings, which is based on factors beyond just material wealth. These sub-indexes include the following: entrepreneurship and opportunity, economy; personal freedom; social capital; governance; health; safety and security; and education. Among the key findings are that “global prosperity has increased across all regions of the world over the last four years.” At the same time, based on the metrics, prosperity has taken a step back in our country.

Most ominously, the Legatum report suggests that the lower US ranking “is driven by a decline in the number of US citizens who believe that hard work will get them ahead and a decrease in [information and communications technology] exports.”

The top 10 (mostly European) countries on the 2012 Legatum prosperity index are:

  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Ireland

Luxembourg finished ahead of the US for the 11th spot.

In discussing the Legatum prosperity index, the Small Business Trends website notes that government control may have dampened enthusiasm for entrepreneurship that is needed to restore America’s prosperity:

“Regulation, even when well-intentioned and directed to a particular purpose, limits the free operation of markets. Tilting the balance away from free markets, in turn, influences people’s attitudes toward entrepreneurship …

“[Obama] won because the American people favored more economic control rather than freer markets, but by the slimmest of margins; and the electorate remains highly polarized on the issue.

‘When putting more economic controls in place, the President and his team will need to try hard to minimize inadvertently creating barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Along these lines, the current administration seems to have embarked on a course of government spending that involves expanding the public sector bureaucracy and handing out massive amounts of both corporate welfare and individual welfare. It’s difficult to see how this approach can put the economy on track when it is the private sector entrepreneur and small businessman and woman in the free market who drive prosperity and job growth.

Do you think the US economy is improving or stagnating?