Thursday 3 July 2014

Which Country Does The Most Good For The World

This is actually kind of a trick question, since nations are currently not being evaluated based on the good they are doing for the world by anyone other than Simon Anholt. According to him in his video presentation below, the answer is Ireland. All too frequently, we see nations ignore the science and the experts in the name of short term financial gain. A great example is Japan reinvesting in nuclear reactors while the Fukushima crisis has still not been resolved, even years after its meltdown.
We see environmental problems coming together to threaten the biosphere itself, all while nations are not even managing to refrain from defending the biggest ecological and economic criminals. The pollution in China is so bad that citizens are buying imported bags of air. In fact, in many instances the very institutions doing the most damage are also benefiting from subsidies and bigger budgets, and this is a problem that reaches far beyond the coasts of the United States.
Domestic agendas and international agendas do not need to stand in opposition. We are all sitting in the same boat, facing the same major world problems. We need to collectively value and demand forethought, empathy, and environmental awareness from our governments and politicians.
Simon Anholt proposes using the “Good Country Index” as opposed to the GDP for ranking nations. He explains this idea in the video above, but also on his website dedicated to the topic. He explains the index as,
“The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given 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.
It’s important to explain that we are not making any moral judgements about countries. What I mean by a Good Country is something much simpler: it’s a country that contributes to the greater good.”
I agree with Simon that I do not want to live in a rich country, in a powerful country, in a country with nuclear weapons or limited, if any, liability for environmental disasters. Instead, I want to live in a country that does good, and brings benefit to the many instead of the few, and holds institutions and individuals responsible for the wrongs they commit regardless of how wealthy they are.
Our current system is less than sustainable: it is threatening long term human survival on this planet. We have to rethink our priorities, our values, and our goals. Instead of emphasizing how much money was made, maybe we should emphasize human well-being and environmental stability in our figures and ranking?


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