Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where Is Life Better?

Real GDP per capita gets criticized as a measure of well-being. Here’s a more comprehensive measure:

These rankings were produced on the basis of a certain weighting of factors. If you don’t like the weights, you can change them to ones you prefer.

What’s cool about the version shown above, lifted from The Economist, is that it allows you to compare the top and bottom of each country.

So, yes, the rich live best in the U.S. And yes, inequality (the distance between the blue and orange circle) is greater in the U.S. than in most other countries. But on the other hand, the poor live very well in the U.S.: as well as the rich in Italy, and better than the rich in Israel, Russia, Portugal, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico.

Now, you should ask the Rawlsian question: where is the place where the poor are the best off. Canada, Sweden and Australia have us beat on that count.

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