Monday, 12 October 2009

The Human Development Index is Personal

The British media moan that the UK is sliding inexorably down the Human Development Index. It's ranked 21st.

This parochial view of course ignores the plight of nations nowhere near the top 20, whom measures like the HDI are really intended to help. The top 20 are pretty irrelevant, actually, as may be the HDI itself, according to its critics. To them, you could add Hans Rosling, whose TED presentation brilliantly illuminates how misleading and unhelpful it is to refer to the development of 'countries' rather than areas and demographics within them:

This may sound terrifically defensive to those in higher-ranked countries, but ultimately, what is an acceptable standard of living is also highly personal. People's social, political and cultural satisfaction are tough to measure and compare. I regard myself as living in London, rather than the UK, for example. And I reckon it's the right choice for now, even having lived in Sydney and New York City.

Mind you, a huge, lingering structural deficit, higher taxes and the continuing failure to fix a broken parliament might change my view.

Here's that HDI top 20 if you're still interested:

1. Norway

2. Australia

3. Iceland

4. Canada

5. Ireland

6. Netherlands

7. Sweden

8. France

9. Switzerland

10. Japan

11. Luxembourg

12. Finland

13. United States

14. Austria

15. Spain

16. Denmark

17. Belgium

18. Italy

19. Liechtenstein

20. New Zealand

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A huge round of applause, keep it up.
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