Saturday, November 7, 2015

Greatness, TM

What is the greatest country in the world? A vague question isn’t it? That term great is defined, simply, by far above average. The average of what? What country is the farthest above average in the most amounts of ways?

            Ok, lets take a look at per capita income. The positives of this approach are that it an average of the whole population and can thus be seen as decent approximation of how well “the ol’ average joe” is doing. Good However of course, this is very susceptible to outliers that can, and will throw off the population. The negatives: the population (such as Luxembourg) could be small and rich. As such, it shows that their CPI is higher. Thus this makes them better. But the CPI of small island with a population of 10 millionaires is by no means a proper measure of the countries greatness.

What about GDP? Is that the appropriate marking of the difference between the country and the rest? If that were the case then American, by about 6 trillion, give or take a couple hundred billion, is the greatest country in the world. To speak about the validity of this is somewhat questionable. At major points in history, I’ll save you the details, the many have owned gargantuan amounts while the few have only a few. This actually is the case in the US at the moment. The 20% own 80% while the 80% own 20%. But that’s a conversation for another day. If GDP is the measure of a countries well being, then the Russian Federation is better off than Luxembourg, by 65 GDP rankings to be exact. Of course, this doesn’t make sense if we actually take a look into how the citizens within these two countries live. Luxembourg’s average life expectancy is 80.2 years while the Russian Federation is 70 years. So, how can we determine that Russia is better off by 65 rankings (additional measurement is needed for actual betteroffness) than Luxembourg? 

Now it seems that we are in a more jumbled mess than we began with. GDP can contradict CPI and seemingly great countries, such as China (GDP of 10 Trillion) can be seen in a new light depending on the measurements. Which leads us to be able to say, “greatness can be arbitrary.” This means that the measurement chosen can change the weight, and consequently ranking of which country is the greatest.

            An excellent point made in the video is that America is not ranked number one in just about any category besides GDP. That means, unless GDP has a greatness rating of 99%, that America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. If that’s the case, what is? How can we determine it? I doubt we can simple state that answer as matter of fact. I’d compare a possible solution to this problem in terms of budgeting. If you set a standard, a budget, you can then prepare a performance sheet of a country over a period of time. I believe, that there needs to be a standardization of a country’s well being. Getting into the technical stuff I can’t say what the proper weighting of each factor should be but, regardless, this should be the best way to determine how well we are doing, and where are we going wrong. Just like a budget.

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