Monday, February 04, 2013

An Interesting Use of Indicators

The Nordic countries are probably the best-governed in the world

I quote from The Economist:
On any measure of the health of a society—from economic indicators like productivity and innovation to social ones like inequality and crime—the Nordic countries are gathered near the top (see table).
Here the authors have created a new index (giving "the overall rank") by equal weighting of six other widely used indices of social wellbeing.  In the article the authors seem to suggest that the composite index is a good surrogate for an index of the quality of governance, or at least for the pragmatism of the people of a nation who resist either too much of a laissez faire approach to capitalism as well as too much emphasis on social welfare.

The article goes on to provide this graph:

The article further states:
The World Values Survey, which has been monitoring values in over 100 countries since 1981, says that the Nordics are the world’s biggest believers in individual autonomy. The Nordic combination of big government and individualism may seem odd to some, but according to Lars Tragardh, of Ersta Skondal University College, Stockholm, the Nordics have no trouble reconciling the two: they regard the state’s main job as promoting individual autonomy and social mobility. 
I rather like the idea of seeking to utilize the available data and indices to paint a broad picture of a society as has been done here by the Economist. It is perhaps better to leave the interpretation of the information to the viewer, but I think there is some relevance in suggesting a deeper meaning to the combination of these indicators, 

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