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The World Economic Forum Declares The U.S. The Most Competitive--And Innovative-- Country In The World.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 8, 2008

In this period of dark gloom and doom, it’s important to keep our focus on what is vital and what is not. The new Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 from the World Economic Forum moves the spotlight away from the current financial crisis to what is fundamentality important to an economy—its global competitiveness. And in this, the U.S. is doing not just good but great. The WEF report says that the U.S. is ranked first in innovation, with its markets allocating resources efficiently to promote and scale innovative activities. The problem today, according to the WEF, lies in bad macro-economic policies that have led to huge financial imbalances—and the current crisis.

Got that? The U.S. is still great at innovation but bad at economic management. This is important to understand as we move forward and create a National Innovation Policy.

Where do other countries stand in the survey? Switzerland is No. 2, followed by the Scandanavian countries. Singapore is No. 4, Japan is No. 9, Canada is No. 10. Where is China? No. 30, but rising fast compared to last year. India? No. 50, also up from previous years, and ahead of Russia, No. 51. Check out the WEF interactive chart.

Here's more information from the WEF release on the report:
“Rising food and energy prices, a major international financial crisis and the related slowdown in the world’s leading economies, are confronting policy-makers with new economic management challenges. Today’s volatility underscores the importance of a competitiveness-supporting economic environment that can help national economies to weather these types of shocks in order to ensure solid economic performance going into the future,” said Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA, and co-author of the report.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the report. This year, over 12,000 business leaders were polled in a record 134 global economies. The survey is designed to capture a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business climate. The report also includes comprehensive listings of the main strengths and weaknesses of countries, making it possible to identify key priorities for policy reform.

“In an uncertain global financial environment it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development. The World Economic Forum has for many years played a facilitating role in this process by providing detailed assessments of the productive potential of nations worldwide. The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 offers policy-makers and business leaders an important tool in the formulation of improved economic policies and institutional reforms,” noted Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Reader Comments

Brian Andersen

October 8, 2008 7:31 PM

Well were still innovative, just can't manage a check book

October 9, 2008 1:09 PM

Well, it is kind of funny this ranking: US, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries top the first places.

Let's translate this into "banking terms": Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, Credit Suisse, UBS, Kaupthing Bank, Landbanski,... They were all in the news lately. No doubts they were innovative and competitive...

Just one message to the guys of the World Economic Forum: keep up the good work!


October 9, 2008 10:39 PM

Germany is ranked as the most innovative, not the US. Check it out.


October 12, 2008 10:06 AM

The safest banks are Canadian say the World Economic Forum.

Canadian banks received 6.8, just ahead of Sweden (6.7), Luxembourg (6.7), Australia (6.7) and Denmark (6.7).

The United States, where some of Wall Street's biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40, just behind Germany at 39, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.

U.K. banks collectively scored 6.0, narrowly behind the United States, Germany and Botswana, all with 6.1. France, in 19th place, scored 6.5 for soundness, while Switzerland's banking system scored the same in 16th place, as did Singapore (13th).


October 23, 2008 11:19 PM

canadian banks are rock solid. My stocks are still doing great, and I invest ONLY in canadian banks. I have never trusted the US banks, because of greed, plain and simple. Every second year or so, something dreadful happens to a financial institution in the US, something unheard of in Canada.


January 15, 2010 6:28 PM

Interesting… I might try some of this on my blog, too. It’s quite interesting how you sometimes stop being innovative and just go for an accepted solution without actually trying to improve it… you make a couple of good points.
work from home


March 3, 2011 5:46 PM

Hello. And Bye.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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