Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.)
December 11, 2018
The Legatum Prosperity Index for 2018 was issued on November 27th. The Index “assesses countries on the promotion of their citizens’ flourishing, reflecting both wealth and wellbeing… It seeks to redefine the way we measure national success, changing the conversation from what we are getting to who we are becoming… offering a unique insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.”
The index is made up of 9 sub-indices – Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, Governance, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Personal Freedom, Social Capital and Environment. “It is unique in defining prosperity as a combination of wealth and wellbeing.”
The Index ranks 149 countries that cover 96% of the world’s population and 99% of global GDP. Although there is some criticism about the subjective nature of the reporting, commentary by The American Enterprise Institute states that “data from the (Index) can help us broaden measures of well-being far beyond GDP—something the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index actually does”.
Morocco’s ranking of 103, out of 148 countries and Hong Kong, scored lowest in governance, education, personal freedom and social capital (which includes social network support, social norms and civic participation in a country). Its highest rankings are citizen safety and the environment.
North America was the strongest region this year, and improved primarily due to improved Personal Freedom, Governance and Economic Quality. The MENA region experienced the largest fall, due largely to worsening Personal Freedom and Social Capital. In particular, it has seen worsening basic legal rights this year, due to a fall in the civil liberties indicator. Morocco is 11thof 18 countries in the region and has flat lined or decreased over the past ten years of the Index. In 2008 it ranked 95, slowly decreasing in comparison to other countries, reaching 103rdthis year.
The top 10 rated countries are Norway, New Zealand, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, and Ireland. The US has remained at 17th. Its prosperity over the past ten years was flat lined, remaining in 17thplace the entire period.
While some of the criteria remains subjective, partly based upon input of academic and policy advisors, all indicators are statistically significant and have a meaningful relationship with at least wealth or wellbeing. The index is a transparent, useful and informative document, and should be taken seriously as one source of information by every government looking to improve the quality of the prosperity of its citizens.