On most metrics, the US is a dog

October 8, 2012

The provocative title of this post is not an opinion but a quote from a recent book by Howard Steven Friedman, a statistician and health economist for the United Nations and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The book, entitled “The Measure of a Nation,” compares the US’ standings on a variety of metrics concerning health, safety, education, democracy and income equality to those of 13 carefully chosen competitor OECD nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain and the UK, all of whom have populations of at least ten million and mean GDPs per capita of at least $20,000.

Friedman rates the top-performing countries as Stars, the worst-performers as Dogs, and the middling performers as Middle Children. The conclusion he reaches, on the basis of the data he collects, is that the US is a Dog. The US fails miserably by every metric considered, except one–the number of billionaires it produces. It has almost double the level of billionaires per million inhabitants than Canada and Germany, its closest competitors. For an insightful summary and review of the book, read Arthur Goldwag’s article in Truthout.


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