Monday, October 02, 2006
This week, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its global competitiveness index for 2006. The results? You guessed it, Switzerland was ranked #1. Now for those of you like us who have no idea how the term "global competitiveness" translates into anything but business jargon, we'll let the WEF website explain:
"The Global Competitiveness Report assesses the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens. This in turn depends on how productively a country uses available resources. Therefore, the Global Competitiveness Index measures the set of institutions, policies, and factors that set the sustainable current and medium-term levels of economic prosperity."
So, the way we see it, global competitiveness is how well a country enables its citizens, through its infrastructure and policies, to enjoy a high standard of living compared to other countries.
Up until now, the United States has been el numero uno, but our sizeable public debt and trade imbalances (according to the WEF) have shuffled us down to No. 6 after Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Singapore.
This is certainly interesting news that probably warrants all sorts of analysis, but instead of blabbering on about a lot of economic mumbo jumbo that we don't really understand, we thought it better to list some of the lesser-known implications of the WEF's report.
So, without further ado, we introduce:
Top 8 Implications of the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report
1. Average yearly sales of big foam fingers in Switzerland increased from 7 to 13
2. Switzerland has voted to officially change their tourism website from "MySwitzerland.com" to "MySwitzerlandisbetterthanyours.com"
3. In 16th-ranked Canada, this week's sales of T-shirts with the slogan "We're now only 10 places worse than you" totalled $12.4 million
4. America can no longer support the claim to be the "Greatest Nation on Earth", instead it will just be called the "Best Spot North of Uruguay"
5. Likelihood that in the next 7 days a French journalist will reference the WEF report as evidence for the "Decline of the American Empire" = 99.98%
6. Likelihood that an American could find all of the top 5 ranked countries on a map = 6.7%
7. Number of Americans who will wonder how export sales of the Swedish Bikini team affected Sweden's overall ranking = 253,302
8. Number of Europeans who will try to connect the effects of Big Mac consumption to the spike in our public deficit = 20,324,105