After so much economic turmoil, the traditional wish for a prosperous new year can be given with considerable vigour.

The 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index (PDF) – “the world’s only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing” – showed that entrepreneurship and opportunity are the primary keys to prosperity, that they correlate more closely to a nation’s overall prosperity than any other factor.

In particular, Legatum found that:

  • Prosperity is found in entrepreneurial democracies that have strong social fabrics.
  • Prosperity is a blend of wealth and happiness, but not as one might think.
  • Global prosperity is changing in unexpected ways.

In 2010, the UK was 13th overall, behind Norway, Denmark, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, the United States, Ireland and Iceland.

In 2011, we find ourselves again in 13th place behind the same countries but still ahead of, perhaps surprisingly, France, Germany and Austria. Taking the economy in isolation, we are well ahead of Ireland and Iceland at 21st, compared to 35th and 71st respectively. It looks like our overall rating is brought down by safety & security (23rd), the economy (21st) education (19th) and health (17th).

On entrepreneurship & opportunity, we are 4th in the world, according to Legatum, just above the USA.

It is true we face huge problems, not least of which are our financial institutions and Labour’s legacy of overspending, but we remain prosperous by international standards and, by the ranking which correlates most closely to overall prosperity, we are very well positioned.

For all our difficulties, there are reasons to be optimistic about prosperity in the UK in 2012 and beyond.

You can find and download the 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index rankings here.

One Comment

  1. Catherine in Athens

    A very happy 2012 to you and yours too, Steve. That’s a bit of cheerful news for a change!