2003 Human Development Index

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New UN Human Development Index Rankings are out. Norwary is #1. Browse the site for more statistics that you’ll ever need….

17 Comments

  1. Norway, Iceland and Sweden on top, followed by Australia – any lessons in that? ;)

  2. What! Land of the Great Satan beating Canuckistan?!? Sacrilege!

    “Yeah, the US has really got lower press freedom than France…”

    Perhaps that’s based on the Evil Zionist Media Control theory…

    “Norway, Iceland and Sweden on top, followed by Australia – any lessons in that?”

    I’d discount Iceland simply because the population is so *small*. Norway and Sweden are the archetypical Scandinavian socialist democracies. Australia is quite different from all of them, though. What were you alluding to, anyways? Something about racial make-up perhaps?

    As far as Australia is concerned, while the number of immigrants as a proportion of the population isn’t terribly high (7% Asian, 1% other, 92% “Caucasian”) they have a moderately high immigration rate of 4 migrants per 1000 pop. Their immigrant population will only increase. Also, we don’t know what ethnic groups other than WASP/mainland europe are included in the “Caucasian” label.

  3. I actually like the human development reports. Not because it puts social democracies at the top (the bane of conservatives), but because they give us a wealth of data on countries and give us measures other than economic ones. The HDI rank is arguably arbitrary but then every measure that combines different things would be. I like to look at it more in terms of blocks of nations.

    For example, look at Arab countries: Bahrain is the top one at #37, followed closely by Qatar, Kuwait and UAE. The comes Libya at #61, Saudi Arabia at #73, Lebanon at #83, Jordan #90, Tunisia #91. These are all better than Turkey at #96 and Palestinian territory at #98 and Egypt at #120.

    The worst region other than sub-Saharan Africa seems to be South Asia. Sri Lanka is at #99 and the rest (India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan) are clustered together from #127-144.

  4. Australia has had high immigration rates since the 1980s with the most prominent migration flows coming from Southeast Asia, mostly overseas Chinese like moi. It is also currently coping with the issue of refugees from the Middle East who try to get themselves smuggled here via Indonesia. The government has responded with detention centres – interestingly the public is divided on this and the biggest supporters of the ‘detention centres’ policy are legal immigrants while the most prominent opponents have been liberal WASPs. I have also heard interesting reports about how talk show audiences (who are overwhelmingly anti-reufgee) making a distinction between earlier migrants (Italians, Vietnamese, etc) whom they regard as assimilable and Arab Muslims whom they do not.

    Australia is currently governed by a Liberal-National coalition – in US speak, Liberals are conservatives and Nationals are agragrarian socialists (i.e. welfare for farmers but not for the urban poor).

  5. Norway, Iceland and Sweden on top, followed by Australia – any lessons in that? ;)
    Clearly, the lesson is that socialism and very high taxes are the answer.

  6. “I have also heard interesting reports about how talk show audiences (who are overwhelmingly anti-reufgee) making a distinction between earlier migrants (Italians, Vietnamese, etc) whom they regard as assimilable and Arab Muslims whom they do not.”

    Isn’t that belief more colored based on the anti-Muslim backlash that most western democracies are feeling?

  7. the lesson is that socialism and very high taxes are the answer.

    there are different variants of socialism-nationalization is probably not as good a strategy as high taxation rates in terms of having a “mixed” economy.

  8. “Norway, Iceland and Sweden on top, followed by Australia – any lessons in that? ;)”

    The lesson may be that Free Market fanaticism may be misplaced, just as much a multi-culturalism (on the right or the left) is misplaced.

  9. I guess you could say that these are biased pro-socialism because they do place a heavy emphasis on how well the weak and dispossessed are taken care of in a given society. Obviously if you are more concerned with average wages, total GDP etcetera then you would have a different perspective.
    It could be argued that these societies are maximizing short-term total happiness at the expense of long-term economic competitiveness.

    Also, Norway is an outlier due to its huge per-capita oil reserves. Granted, great natural resources are not a free ride to social equity and often end up squandered or controlled by a corrupt oligarchy (as in Saudi Arabia); but in Norway’s case they have been invested in such a way as to make their socialist state fiscally feasible.

  10. I know you’re kidding
    Am I?

  11. It could be argued that these societies are maximizing short-term total happiness at the expense of long-term economic competitiveness.
    Then why have the Nordic countries come out on top of these things since they started in the 70s?

  12. Fredrik -
    I am not really trying to be all that critical of the choices the Scandinavians and Finns have made. I agree that it seems to work out pretty well for them. But they might well have achieved more economic growth if they had a less progressive tax scheme or a less generous welfare state.

  13. They are ethnically homogeneous, with high mean IQs

    Not to mention that they have extremely small populations.

  14. European social democracies have several things in common
    The top three are specifically Nordic, not just ‘European social democracies’.

    1) They do not have to pay for their defense
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/mil_exp_dol_fig_cap
    Norway and Sweden in 12th and 16th place. How is paying $687 dollars per person not paying for defence?

    The Nordic countries perform significantly better than other countries in most tests of human development. Anyone but the most blinkered ideologue would accept that it has something to do with their socialistic political systems.

  15. the scandinavian countries started out with a small nobility and equitable social distributions to begin with from a long time back from what i recall (scandinavia is not conducive to cash crop economies that might lead to a hacienda style social system). they had high literacy because of lutheran emphasis on learning the bible in you own tongue, etc.

    socialism piggy-backed on a lot of things, and might have helped. i suspect scandinavia will do well under most any system that isn’t at the extremes (totalitarian communism and anarchism).

    also, i know sweden’s tax structure actually favors business people because you can’t really get wealthy/affluent as a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc.) because of high income tax rates, but there are exemptions/loopholes for businesses (especially foreign businesses actually)-and people that might otherwise go into professions to make their $$$ go into business since the payoff is much higher….

  16. I don’t understand why many small and insignificant islands and commonwealths that are about a square mile are even listed. They shouldn’t count.

    Also, doesn anyone know where I can find info on the HDI values for countries during the Cold War? I can only find current ones.

  17. About 20% of Swedens population are not ethnic swedes. So flush the “ethnically homogeneous” argument.

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