A couple of weekends ago, Dena and I were watching Thank You For Smoking (good movie, BTW) and in one scene, Aaron Eckert’s character is helping his son write an essay on the topic of “why is the US government the greatest government in the world?”. Of course, Dena (Team USA) and myself (Team Canada) both turned to each other with a WTF look on our faces. It got me thinking, what does it take for a country to call itself the best at any given thing? Sure, the US media and education system preaches about how it’s the “world’s superpower” and that the “US president is the leader of the free world”. Japan is the most technologically advanced nation. Canada is the most tolerant country. And so on. I thought it was interesting to see which countries are actually number one at…
Citizens’ ability to read and comprehend the written word might be a good indicator of the quality of a country’s education system. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK are all tied for the top spot with literacy rates of 99.9%.
Human Development Index (source)
The UN publishes this annual list that attempts to quantify the quality of life as per the countries of the world. Life expectancy, education, purchasing power and standard of living are a few facets that are taken into account. Norway is currently number one. I’m proud to note that Canada has been number one for many years during the late 1990’s and this decade; we currently sit at the fifth position.
The geek in me likes this list 🙂 IBM published this list in 2005 of countries that are the most prepared and capable of offering Internet connectivity as well as the having a modern nation-wide network infrastructure. I’m not sure if there’s a particular ranking order. The top five countries are Singapore, Denmark, Canada, Sweden and the US.
Internet Usage (source)
There are more Internet users per capita in Iceland than anywhere else in the world. I wonder if they’ve discovered a geothermic method for transferring TCP/IP packets yet. 😉
Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (source)
GDP is a measure of the value of all goods and services produced within a country divided by the average population. Luxembourg currently has the most purchasing power.
Surplus/Deficit Account Balance (source)
Does your country sell more goods and services than it buys? I hope so, since a surplus is a nice thing 🙂 Japan currently has the largest surplus and the US is saddled with a massive deficit.
Military Spending (source)
Who spends the most money on their military? The US does by a crazy-big margin.
Active Military Troops (source)
The PRC has more people serving in the military than any other country.
Beer Consumption (source)
Here’s a tasty one 🙂 It turns out that the Czech Republic really loves their beer.
Murder Rate (source)
I’m sure it’s a beautiful country, but I don’t think I’ll be visiting Columbia any time soon.
The US is the heftiest country.
There are over a billion people living in the PRC and India is not too far behind.
Population Density (source)
You’ll constantly bump into people in Monaco. On the other hand, you can really stretch out in Greenland.
Keep reaching for the stars 🙂