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A Special Report with
THE GOOD COUNTRY INDEX THE END OF THE SELFISH STATE EDITION 1.5
CREATOR SIMON ANHOLT
EDITORS ANA C. ROLD | SHANE SZARKOWSKI
ART DIRECTOR MARC GARFIELD
PUBLISHER DIPLOMATIC COURIER | MEDAURAS GLOBAL WASHINGTON, DC
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Over the last twenty years, Simon Anholt has advised the Presidents, Prime Ministers, monarchs and governments of over sixty countries, cities and regions, helping them to engage more productively and imaginatively with the international community. Simon has written six books about countries, their images and their role in the world. His latest book, The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation, was published in October 2020. His talk Which country does the most good for the world? is the alltime most viewed TED Talk on Governance, with over 12 million views. It was also ranked as the 4th “most inspiring” talk ever by TED viewers. In addition to his best-known research project, the Good Country Index, he also produces two major global surveys tracking public perceptions of countries and cities, the Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index and City Brands Index, in partnership with the research group Ipsos-Mori. He is Founding Editor Emeritus of the academic journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. DIPLOMATIC COURIER Diplomatic Courier is a global media affairs network spanning 180 countries and five continents, connecting global publics to leaders in international affairs, diplomacy, social good, technology, business, and more. Our think tank, the World in 2050, convenes multi-stakeholders in the private and public sectors through a series of global summits and forums, educational material, research papers and reports, and digital and print media.
CONTENTS 07 Welcome by the Editors 11 Introduction by Simon Anholt 13 Which Are the “Goodest” Countries? 16 How the Good Country Index Works 17 Contributions to Science & Technology 18 Contributions to Culture 19 Contributions to International Peace & Security 20 Contributions to World Order 21 Contributions to Planet & Climate 22 Contributions to Prosperity & Equality 23 Contributions to Health & Wellbeing 24 What next? 25 A Q&A About the Index
WELCOME BY THE EDITORS
oday, Diplomatic Courier is thrilled to announce our partnership with Good Country Index (GCI) creator Simon Anholt for the launch of the fifth iteration of the GCI. We are also pleased to announce the launch of a new channel, entitled: “Good Country: The End of the Selfish State.” For those new to GCI, the index is essentially a balance sheet measuring what individual countries contribute to the world outside versus what they take away. Measurements are taken from the UN and other international bodies across seven categories: Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, and Health and Wellbeing. In this latest edition of the GCI, data is taken from pre-pandemic 2020, the most recent year available. Sweden came out with the highest ranking—the first time a country has been ranked first for a second time—with Scandinavian countries dominating the top ten places. When Diplomatic Courier began exploring a partnership with GCI, we understandably had questions about the rankings. Most of these questions have been addressed by Simon Anholt over the years, and you can find them here. For us, a couple of the questions were critical so, we are addressing them here.
Interrogating the GCI We wanted to be clear about the rankings. Why is it that richer, whiter countries place so highly? Are the metrics biased? Everything, again, is taken from UN data and thus was self-reported by UN member states. GCI has scaled those results to coincide with state capacity, measured by GDP (and you can find a discussion of ‘Why GDP?’ in the FAQs.) Categories are influenced by some structural factors DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 7
of capacity—for instance you lose points in International Peace and Security if you export violence. Some governments don’t have great control of their borders and groups within those borders could bring violence elsewhere—then there are questions of unsanctioned arms trafficking and so on. But, to a large extent, rankings have a lot to do with choices. We also had questions about the appearance of a sort of paternalistic noblesse oblige. Does the GCI aim to teach poorer countries the “proper” conduct necessary to emulate Western success? This is a tricky one, because it is quite easy for those in a favorable situation to unwittingly adopt this sort of role toward those in a less favorable situation. First, it’s important to note that there are several non-Western countries with quite different ideas of governance and economic policy that score well; from Japan and Singapore to Georgia and Malaysia to South Africa and Tunisia. Beyond that, Mr. Anholt’s explanation is that the GCI is not really about pronouncements. Instead, it’s intended to spark conversations. How can governments make the best use of what resources are available to them to minimize harm they do and maximize constructive things they do for what we might term the global commons? This brings us to a very important question—who cares? Why should governments who are ranked low care that they’re ranked low, and what should our readers take away? Ultimately, the point of the GCI is to combat marginalization, a concept that Mr. Anholt explores in his book Good Country Equation, a number of copies of which he is making available to Diplomatic Courier readers (use code: courier). This is accomplished, for Good Country, not through Western guilt-motivated aid but through a rethink of attitudes, values, and behaviors that are shown to actually empower governments and improve outcomes. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns to convince tourists and investors that you’re a prime destination, investing in “governmental social responsibility” has a greater dollar-for-dollar impact when it comes to improving image and thus enhancing trade, tourism, investment, diplomacy, cultural relations, and so on.
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GCI Helps the Future Arrive Well At Diplomatic Courier’s sibling org, World in 2050, we talk a lot about “helping the future arrive well.” At Diplomatic Courier, part of our mission is to elevate marginalized perspectives and analyses. The GCI’s mission is directly in line with both of these goals, and we’re proud of this partnership. We urge you to check out the new content that’s being published in our new “Good Country” channel and decide for yourself what you think. If you have questions, criticisms, or ideas on improving the GCI, well we’d all love to hear from you. One of the most reassuring things Mr. Anholt told us about the GCI is that while an argument for a new take on enlightened self-interest is core to the index, there are no claims here on a final answer to anything. The GCI is presented to the world to create new discussions that invite comments and contributions rather than as an attempt to sell its methodology and message as the way forward. It could—and we think it does—point in the right direction. We hope you think so too, and we hope you’ll help us think about how to navigate more precisely toward a world where states do better for themselves by being better global citizens, even as they compete.
The Editors Washington, DC March 2022
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elcome to the latest edition of the Good Country Index The GCI is a different way of looking at the world. Instead of measuring how well countries are doing (there are many indexes that already do this), the GCI tries to measure how much countries are doing: what do they actually contribute to the world outside their own borders, to humanity, and our planet? Looking after their own citizens and their own territory is the first requirement of all countries and their governments. But in our age of global challenges—climate change, conflict, pandemics, poverty—it’s no longer enough. Countries have to work together to secure our future. The Good Country Index is an annual report card for over 160 countries, revealing which ones are working for all of us, which ones are only working for their own interests, which ones aren’t working for either, and which ones are working against us. Using a wide range of data from the United Nations and other international organizations, we give each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between. This isn’t about making moral judgments. A ‘good country’ isn’t the opposite of a ‘bad country’: it’s simply a country that contributes to the greater good. It’s the start of a conversation, not the end of one. Since it was launched in 2014, the main purpose of the Good Country Index has been to encourage a global debate about what countries are really for. Do they exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses, and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet? The debate is a critical one, because if the first answer is the correct one, we’re all in deep trouble. Today as never before, we desperately need a world made of good countries. We will only get them by demanding them: from our leaders, our companies, our societies, and of course from ourselves. Simon Anholt DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 11
WHICH ARE THE “GOODEST” COUNTRIES? Sweden is the first country to come top in the GCI twice (1.1 and 1.5). It has always ranked within the Top 6. As there is quite a lot of volatility in the GCI, it really means something if a country manages to get to the top of the list more than once. Based on the available data, Sweden really does contribute more to the world outside its own borders, relative to the size of its economy, than any other country. What about the pandemic? GCI 1.5 is mainly based on 2020 data so the early effects of the pandemic do feed into the results. Although the average contribution of countries to the world outside their borders has diminished as countries have focused inwards, their negative contributions have not increased on the whole (and in some cases, like CO2 emissions, have decreased), so the overall rank order has remained fairly stable. As usual, the highest ranking non-European countries are all in the Anglosphere: Canada (6th), Australia (18th) and New Zealand (19th). East Asia doesn’t enter the rankings until 25th (Singapore); Latin America until 33rd (Chile); Africa until 44th (South Africa), and South Asia until 53rd (India). This result, and the question of why European and specifically Nordic countries do so well are addressed in the FAQs: see https://www.goodcountry.org/index/yourquestions/background/ What about Russia and Ukraine? Of course, the current invasion isn’t yet reflected in GCI 1.5, nor the worsening situation over the last two years, since the data we use relates to the world in 2020 (and in a few instances 2019). See the FAQ about the reasons for this. Russia’s contributions have remained more or less stable, in the 40s, for the last three editions. Ukraine has typically ranked in the 70s, except that DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 13
in GCI 1.2 it leapt up to 54th, and it’s done it again in GCI 1.5, to 56th. What about the USA? There is a longer-term pattern in the USA’s gradual withdrawal from the international community: in GCI 1.0 and 1.1 it ranked 21st, which is remarkably high when you consider the depth and breadth of its engagement around the world, some of which is military. But the U.S. fell to 25th in 1.2, 40th in 1.3, recovered a fraction to 38th in 1.4 and has fallen in the new edition to its lowest point yet, 46th. The UK since Brexit. The UK’s trend is broadly downwards, but it’s not nearly as steep or as consistent a trend as, for example, the USA. Typically, the UK has ranked around 7-8 or higher—a major contributor to the international community—but in GCI 1.3 it dropped to 15th place, and in the latest edition has dropped again to 14th. So, it’s not a smooth curve but in the coming years it’ll be interesting to see whether it sticks closer to its upper or its lower extremes—or drops even further. The full impact of Brexit, of course, was hardly visible in 2019/2020. The overall rankings may be fairly predictable but there are plenty of big surprises in the individual categories: Ukraine ranking #1 in Science and Technology; Belgium #1 in Culture; Morocco #1 in Peace and Security (and Sweden 39th, Switzerland 99th). To understand what these surprising results mean, it’s worth checking the FAQs for further discussion. The biggest risers: the Dominican Republic has risen from 115th to 60th, a rise of 55 places; Guyana from 125th to 77th, a rise of 48; and the Seychelles from 123rd to 76th, a rise of 47 places. The biggest fallers: Niger has fallen from 93rd to 143rd, a drop of 50 places; likewise, Qatar drops 50 places from 59th to 109th; Congo from 92nd to 146th, a fall of 54 places; Senegal from 66th to 122nd, a fall of 56 places; Malawi from 67th to 127th, a fall of 60 places, and the furthest fall of all is Oman, from 69th to 131std, a fall of 62 places. Note that the biggest countries tend to be the most stable from year to year: this is partly because there is more data on them. There tends to be much fewer good data on smaller 14 | THE GOOD COUNTRY INDEX 2022
and poorer countries, and the numbers themselves are smaller, so the rankings that this limited data generates are less robust and more volatile. Quite small changes in the behavior of these countries can produce a big change in their GCI ranking. Who’s at the bottom? The lowest quartile of the ranking is characterized by very poor and troubled countries predominantly in West Asia and Africa: Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, and Eritrea. But having a small economy is not, in itself, a reason to rank low in the index: if these countries did make any positive contribution to the world outside their borders, it would still be picked up by the GCI because most of the data is divided by GDP. Tunisia, for example, manages to rank a relatively high 47th place, the Dominican Republic and Panama at 60th and 61st. Clearly, countries rank at the bottom not because they are poor but because they are focused entirely inwards, for very understandable reasons. The question of how, and whether, very poor and weak states could and should contribute to the world outside their own borders, or simply allowed to be freeriders, is another highly controversial question. It leads directly to the important point that what we’re measuring here is not charity, and actually only a tiny handful of the indicators measure money. A ‘good’ country is not a rich country that hands out spare cash to poor countries: it’s much more complex and interesting than that.
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HOW THE GOOD COUNTRY INDEX WORKS
he Good Country Index is calculated by merging thirty-five datasets, which measure the actual behavior of most countries on the planet. These datasets are produced by organizations including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNESCO, the Global Footprint Network, and several others.
Overall Rank The overall rank is based on the average of the category ranks; 26 (out of 35) indicators are based on 2020 data, 7 on 2019 data, 2018 data for Renewable energy share, and 2017 Ecological footprint data. The actual overall rank is based on 169 countries included in the index and the mean rank score for the 7 category ranks.
Categories and Indicators For the raw data and detailed information please refer to https://www.goodcountry.org/index/source-data. The datasets used in the Good Country Index measure the following behaviors of most countries:
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 1. International students: Number of foreign students studying in the country (according to UNESCO) relative to the size of the economy. 2. Journal exports: Exports of periodicals, scientific journals, and newspapers (according to ITC) relative to the size of the economy. 3. International publications: Number of articles published in international journals (according to SCImago) relative to the size of the economy. 4. Nobel prizes: Accumulated Nobel prizes (up to 2016) assigned to countries based on laureates’ country of birth as well as country (countries) of institutional affiliation at the time of the award, relative to the size of the economy. 5. Patents: Number of International Patent Cooperation Treaty applications (according to WIPO) relative to the size of the economy.
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO CULTURE 6. International events: Number of international events hosted (according to the Union of International Associations) relative to the size of the economy. 7. Cultural products exports: Exports of cultural goods and services (according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics) relative to the size of the economy. 8. UNESCO dues in arrears as % of contribution: UNESCO dues in arrears as percentage of contribution (negative indicator). 9. Freedom of movement, i.e. visa restrictions: Number of countries and territories that citizens can enter without a visa (according to Henley & Partners). 10. Press freedom: Freedom of the press (according to Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index as a negative indicator).
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE & SECURITY 11. Peacekeeping troops: Number of peacekeeping troops sent overseas for UN missions, relative to the size of the economy. 12. Dues in arrears to UN peace keeping budgets as % of contribution: Dues in arrears to financial contribution to UN peacekeeping missions as percentage of contribution (negative indicator). 13. International violent conflict: Attributed number of casualties of international organized violence (number of casualties per conflict divided by the number of countries involved according to UCDP/PRIO) relative to the size of the economy (negative indicator). 14. Arms exports: Exports of weapons and ammunition (according to ITC) relative to the size of the economy (negative indicator). 15. Internet security: Global Cybersecurity Index score (according to ITU).
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO WORLD ORDER 16. Charity giving: Percentage of population that gives to charity (according to Charities Aid Foundation) as proxy for cosmopolitan attitude. 17. Refugees hosted: Number of refugees hosted (according to UNHCR) relative to the size of the economy. 18. Refugees generated: Number of refugees overseas (according to UNHCR) relative to the size of the population (negative indicator). 19. Birth rate: Population birth rate (according to World Bank as negative indicator). 20. UN Treaties signed: Number of UN treaties signed (up to 2016) as proxy for diplomatic action and peaceful conflict resolution.
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO PLANET & CLIMATE 21. Ecological footprint (2014): National Footprint Accounts, Ecological footprint (according to Global Footprint Network) relative to the size of the economy (negative indicator). 22. Environmental agreements compliance (2015): Percentage compliance to multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement. 23. Hazardous pesticides exports: Hazardous pesticides exports (according to UNEP Environmental Data Explorer) relative to the size of the economy (negative indicator). 24. Renewable energy share (2015): Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption. 25. Ozone: Consumption of ozone-depleting substances— all (according to UNEP Environmental Data Explorer) relative to the size of the economy (negative indicator).
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROSPERITY & EQUALITY 26. Open trading: Trading across borders (open trading performance compared to best practice; i.e. IFC distance to frontier). 27. UN volunteers abroad: Number of aid workers and volunteers sent overseas (according to UNV) relative to the size of the economy. 28. Money Laundering: Basel AML Index measuring the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing (negative indicator). 29. FDI outflows: FDI outflow (according to UNCTAD) relative to the size of the economy. 30. Development assistance: Development cooperation contributions (aid according to Development Initiatives) relative to the size of the economy.
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO HEALTH & WELLBEING 31. Food aid: Food aid funding (according to WFP) relative to the size of the economy. 32. Pharmaceutical exports: Exports of pharmaceuticals (according to ITC) relative to the size of the economy. 33. Voluntary excess donations to the WHO: Voluntary excess contributions to World Health organization relative to the size of the economy. 34. Humanitarian aid donations: Humanitarian aid contributions (according to UNOCHA) relative to the size of the economy. 35. International Health Regulations Compliance: International Health Regulations Compliance (according to WHO).
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bviously, these datasets all measure different things: money, people, weight (of food or narcotics or pollutants), episodes, weapons and much else. In order to make such widely different datasets compatible, we convert them all into rankings and work with those rankings. Most of the indicators are then expressed relative to GDP so smaller or poorer countries are not unduly penalized. We then group them into seven categories: -
Contributions Contributions Contributions Contributions Contributions Contributions Contributions
to to to to to to to
Science and Technology Culture International Peace and Security World Order Planet and Climate Prosperity and Equality Health and Wellbeing
Each country thus has an overall ranking, a ranking in each of the seven categories, and scores on each of the individual 35 datasets. Countries with missing data on more than 2 out of 5 indicators on any category are excluded from the ranking. This means that a total of 169 countries are measured in the Index.
What Next? The Good Country Index does not claim to produce any final or definitive answers on any of these complex topics. Its aim is to start a debate about countries and their role in the world. Of course, the Index can and will be enlarged and improved in the months and years to come. As more good data becomes available, and better ways of combining that data emerge, it will gradually form a wider and fairer picture of each country’s real contribution to the global commons. In order to improve the Index, we need new ideas and new sources of data. Any suggestions about how to make the Index more comprehensive will be very gratefully received at: email@example.com. 24 | THE GOOD COUNTRY INDEX 2022
A Q&A ABOUT THE INDEX What’s all this about, then? The Good Country Index tries to measure how much each country on earth contributes to the planet and to the human race. Why? Because the biggest challenges facing humanity today are global and borderless: climate change, economic crisis, terrorism, drug trafficking, slavery, pandemics, poverty and inequality, population growth, food and water shortages, energy, species loss, human rights, migration...the list goes on. All of these problems stretch across national borders, so the only way they can be properly tackled is through international efforts. The trouble is, most countries carry on behaving as if they were islands, focusing on developing domestic solutions to domestic problems. We’ll never get anywhere unless we start to change this habit. The Good Country Index isn’t interested in how well countries are doing, it’s interested in how much they are doing. But there are so many indexes and surveys that measure how countries behave. Surely, we don’t need another one? Almost all of them measure country performance in isolation: whether it’s economic growth, stability, justice, transparency, good governance, productivity, democracy, freedom, or even happiness, it’s always measured per country. The Good Country Index tries to measure the global impacts of policies and behaviors: what they contribute to the “global commons”, and what they take away. This forms a truer and more realistic global balance-sheet than one which carries on pretending that each country sits on its own private planet. The concept of the “Good Country” is all about encouraging populations and their governments to be more outward looking, and to consider the international consequences of their national behavior. DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 25
What do you mean, “ good”? Try thinking of “good” as a measure of how much a country contributes to the common good. So, in this context “good” means the opposite of “selfish”, not the opposite of “bad”. The Good Country Index isn’t trying to make any moral judgments: it just measures, as objectively as possible, what each country contributes to the common good, and what it takes away. What do you expect people to do with these results? To urge their governments to look at the total impact of their policies. It’s no longer enough to provide prosperity, growth, justice and peace to one population alone: the international consequences of every action must be considered. Economic growth is a good thing, but not if it’s at the cost of the environment or the wellbeing of another country or species. Competition between nations is increasingly looking like a dangerous idea. It’s up to us to tell these things to our politicians, and the Good Country Index can help get the message across. Who’s behind this? The ‘Good Country’ concept and the Good Country Index were developed by Simon Anholt. The Index was built by Dr. Robert Govers with support from many other colleagues and institutions (see contributor acknowledgements on www.goodcountry.org), and funded by Simon Anholt. How did you choose the indicators? Although more and more reliable data about countries is collected every year, it’s still patchy. So, we have to be pretty clever about using the good, robust, available data as ‘tokens’ for the qualities we’re looking for. Most of the indicators we use are very direct measurements of world-friendly or world-unfriendly behavior (such as signing of international treaties, pollution, acts of terrorism, wars, etc.) and some are rather indirect (such as Nobel prizes, exports of scientific journals, etc.), but they add up to a pretty good picture of whether each country is basically a net creditor to the rest of humanity in each of the seven categories, or whether it’s a free-rider on the global system and ought to be recognized as such.
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This is surely a very incomplete picture of the world. You can’t possibly reduce a country’s entire contribution to humanity and the planet down to 35 indicators. Correct. But it’s a start, and we welcome constructive contributions. It will probably never be possible to give a complete answer on any of these issues, but it’s surely better to get the debate going than to keep silent. It’s not fair to penalize poor countries by ranking them low in the Good Country Index: they would give more to the world if they had the money, time, skills, education, peace, health, etc. For most indicators, each country’s score in the Good Country Index is divided by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so that smaller and poorer countries aren’t unduly penalized in the ranking for their limited ability to ‘make a difference’ in the world. Having said this, the Good Country Index isn’t passing any kind of judgment on countries, nor is it commenting on the reasons behind any country’s scores. It is certainly true that countries which need to focus on severe domestic challenges tend to be more concerned about their own populations and their own stability than those of other countries. Maybe this is right, and maybe it’s not: one for further discussion. Did you try other normalizations such as GNI or per capita? Yes. As it happens, the ranking is not hugely sensitive to different normalizations. A per capita normalization is equally legitimate but it does tend to punish impoverished countries, which is something we wanted to avoid. You’ve included several territories in the list which aren’t sovereign states. Why is this? We include any territory that reports enough accurate data for it to be ranked in the Good Country Index. No judgment is implied about the sovereign status, or otherwise, of any territory included in the list: these are all places that behave like countries to the extent of measuring and reporting their behavior to the United Nations and other international agencies as if they were countries, and that’s good enough for us.
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You’ve left out a number of territories/nations. Why is this? Territories are included or excluded from the Index purely on the basis of the available data. Countries with missing data on more than 2 out of 5 indicators on any category are generally excluded, except in a handful of cases where there are very few missing values overall. In total, 169 countries are included in this year’s Index. Since the rankings are based on mean scores per category and missing values are ignored, the countries included in the Index are neither rewarded nor punished for any non-reporting. What year does the Good Country Index refer to? Because the data in the 35 indicators which make up the Good Country Index are collected in different forms and at different times for different reasons, it’s impossible to focus the Index on any single year—some indicators report on things which have happened during the previous year, a few of them are constantly updated, and some of them relate to behaviors which may have taken place up to a decade earlier. For this reason, we’ve used mostly 2020 data for the current edition of the Good Country Index. It’s as close as the available data allows to a complete portrait of the world today. What about the recent scandal/invasion/attack/war/policy/ election in country x? Should they be at the bottom of the Good Country Index because of that? The Good Country Index doesn’t react to specific events because there’s usually no objective way of measuring their immediate impact on the world. Many behaviors—such as wars, for example—will, in time, be reflected in the data sources that the Good Country Index is based on (for example, the UCDP-PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset in the case of wars) and so they will be accounted for in future updates. But as yet we have no reliable mechanism for reacting to one-off episodes. We’re working on this, and suggestions are gratefully received. This isn’t fair. You’re blaming entire countries for something their government is responsible for, and rewarding governments for things their population have done without state help.
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The Good Country Index doesn’t attempt to distinguish between different actors in each country, which in many cases would be impossible anyway. We treat each country as a whole and simply measure what, as a whole, its impact is on the world. Others are welcome to debate how the praise or blame should be apportioned to government, civil society, individuals or companies. This is culturally biased. The values you’ve chosen as ‘good for humanity / good for the planet’ are based on a liberal, Western, capitalist view of the world. They try to be as universal as possible. This isn’t rocketscience: in the end it’s pretty obvious that starting wars or polluting the atmosphere is doing no favors to the world, and most people from most cultural backgrounds would agree with that. And we aren’t proposing any complete or definitive answer to what constitutes a Good Country: this index hopes to be the beginning of a global debate which might one day lead to such an understanding. I’m surprised to see countries like Egypt and Nigeria among the best performers in the peace and security category. Why is this? On the whole, the countries that score well in this category do not export arms; they are not directly involved in international violent conflicts (except in some cases as peacekeepers); they tend to have tight cyber-security, and may contribute significantly to UN peacekeeping missions with troops and/or funds. Of course, several of them have a great deal to worry about at home, including violent conflicts within their own borders, and their contribution to international peace and security is often a largely passive one: they do very little harm overseas, rather than doing a lot of good. Still, the net effect is positive and this is what earns them their high ranking in this particular category—even if, in many cases, their overall contribution to the common good is let down by lower scores in other categories. It’s important to emphasize again that the Good Country Index only measures the international impacts of countries; what they do at home is well documented in many other studies and surveys. The fact that domestic behavior isn’t included in the Good Country Index of course doesn’t mean DIPLOMATIC COURIER | 29
we excuse, condone, minimize or overlook it in any way: it’s simply not the thing that we’re measuring. Remember that when we talk about a ‘good country’ we’re not attempting to judge its overall moral standing: we’re measuring its impact on the rest of the world, its contribution to the common good. You can’t get a complete picture of any country without considering both domestic and international factors, and we would always encourage people to consider the Good Country Index scores alongside some reliable measures of domestic behavior.
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