Ireland loses its ‘good country list’ crown


Ireland has been knocked off the top of the ‘good country index’, plummeting to 11th place in this year’s rankings.

It was replaced by Sweden, with Denmark and the Netherlands completing the top three.

Britain was considered to be the fourth best country in the world in terms of good deeds, coming just ahead of Germany.

The list assesses nations based on their global contributions in terms of science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, the planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and the health and wellbeing of humanity.

It considers all contributions, both good and bad, and each country’s final score is modified to account for population size.

The results are collated from 35 separate indicators, including sources from the United Nations and World Bank, and the survey examines the good each country does for humanity as well as what it takes away.

Positive indicators include humanitarian aid donations and UN volunteers abroad, while negative ones include CO2 emissions and arms exports.

Substantial generosity

Simon Anholt, a professor at the University of East Anglia who created the index, attributed Ireland’s dramatic fall to a proportionally high level of ‘good’ during the worst of the economic crisis of 2009.

He added that although there was substantial generosity coming out of Ireland during the recession, since the economy has grown, it has failed to update its aid programmes accordingly.

Mr Anholt explained that the purpose of the table is to make people consider their interactions with outsiders, rather than focus purely on internal factors.

He appreciates that the natural reaction is for countries to focus on the interests of their own people, but noted that this should not be at the expense of other populations.

“This is the new law of human survival, and it’s a balance which is far more easily maintained than many people imagine.

“Working together makes for better policy than working alone. Most of our problems are rapidly and dangerously multiplying because of globalisation,” he said.


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