Norway: The Best Country to Live In?
Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:21:43 PM
Actually, this is not such earth-shattering news: Norway has in fact been the top-ranked country in the human development index seven times, second only to Canada at eight times. However, I do think Norway was particularly glad to take out the number one spot this year, after slaving away in second place to their northern neighbour Iceland the last two years. (Some Norwegians no doubt felt a little smug when the Icelandic economic bubble burst last year and it became obvious that Iceland's over-inflated economy had caused it to win the index on a GDP technicality.) The latest UNDP report on the human development index is always based on data from two years prior, so it will be interesting to see how the future index is impacted by the global economic crisis.
In this year's report, Norway beat out Australia by just one place... which makes me unsure whether to feel victorious or demand a re-count. An Australian comedy news show also noted this travesty of justice and came to Oslo redress the balance (check out the video below). Out of interest, this year Iceland came in third place and Canada fourth, with Japan in 10th position and the USA in 13th.
So the question remains: Is Norway really the world’s best country to live in? Sure there’s high life expectancy, free education, low crime rates, universal healthcare, and enough oil money to keep Norway owning 1% of all shares in the world... but as one colleague said of the this year's UNDP human development index results: “I don't think they take the weather into account.”