A recent survey conducted by policy advisor Simon Anholt found Ireland to be the “goodest” country in the word. It was part of the first ever Good Country Index which measured 35 separate indicators including the country’s economy, global contributions, science and technology, culture, climate, and health. In a Ted Talk on the index, Anholt said he designed the survey hoping it would change the way countries have been operating by placing more importance on their global impact rather than self interest. “It’s time countries started thinking much harder about the international consequences of their actions,” he said. “If they don’t, the global challenges like climate change, poverty, economic crises, terrorism, drugs, and pandemics will only get worse.”
While Ireland ranked first, the Nordic countries – Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands – all placed at the top, with New Zealand rounding out the top 5. The UK ranked 7th and the United States came in at 21 due to poor international peace and security. War torn Iraq, Libya, and Vietnam were at the bottom of the survey.
The findings have perplexed many throughout Ireland given the country’s recent economic downturn and high unemployment. The data used dated back to 2010 and curiously found Egypt placed first in helping to maintain world order. Anholt countered that Ireland was suffering from “a severe case of Groucho Marx syndrome,” and insisted, “the message to the Irish people is that they can hold their heads up high. No matter how much they are suffering in the last number of years, they haven’t forgotten their international obligations and neither has the government. They still can feel proud of where they come from.”