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Poor ranking for India in global prosperity survey
July 03, 2007 02:52 IST
Nine per cent plus economic growth, rising stock prices and people becoming richer: Indians should be getting happier and feeling better about life, right?
On the contrary, India, along with Pakistan and Egypt, figures near the bottom of a table of nations in a survey that ranks them in terms of prosperity. The three countries are better than only Zimbabwe.
The survey by Legatum, a Dubai-based international investment firm, through its Legatum Prosperity Index, saw a three-way tie among Norway, Sweden and the United States for the most prosperous nation.
"India's low position may seem puzzling, given the country's achievement of democracy and Indians' oft-noted spiritual strength," said Legatum in a press release.
But these strengths, it seems, cannot make up for an extreme deficiency in health.
"Health is the second-strongest determinant of life satisfaction, trailing only freedom of choice, and India has one of the three lowest scores in our study," it explains.
The first annual edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, which covered 50 countries, is the result of an investigation into the factors that drive prosperity in different countries.
Recent research advances have made it possible to compare not only material wealth, but also life satisfaction of people.
Accordingly, Legatum has defined national prosperity as the well-rounded combination of both these factors.
While no country has poor scores in every category, Zimbabwe comes closest. While its people report that they maintain strong religious faith, this does not make up for extreme levels of ill-health, poverty and unemployment, as well as high divorce rates.
Through responsible management of its natural resource wealth, Norway has achieved rapid economic growth as well as excellent social conditions. Sweden may perform less well economically, but it has world-leading scores on the most important social indicators.
The United States has respectable scores in most areas and is exceptional in the degree to which its citizens maintain strong religious faith and report that they feel secure in their ability to make free choices and control their lives.
Both of these are factors that, other things being equal, correlate strongly with life satisfaction.