UK fourth in Good Country Index Sweden first USA 21st

The UK was ranked fourth in the Good Country Index, behind Sweden in first place, followed by Denmark and the Netherlands. The USA came in at number 21, behind virtually every Western European country, plus New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Australia.

While Britain ranked first in one of the seven categories that make up the Index – Science & Technology – it fared badly in International Peace & Security (64th place). The UK came second in Health & Wellbeing, and fifth in Prosperity & Equality.

Sweden was the only nation in the world to come first in two categories – Prosperity & Equality, and Health & Wellbeing.

Good Country Index Top 25The Good Country Index ranks nations according to how much they contributed to the common good of humanity, minus what they took away. (Image: Data taken from Good Country Website)

The United States’ best category is Health & Wellbeing (12th), followed by Science & Technology (20th), World Order (26th), Planet & Climate (34th), Prosperity & Equality (46th), Culture (53rd), and International Peace & Security (66th).

Russia came a long way down – 72nd – it scored very badly in Prosperity & Equality (143rd place).

What is the Good Country Index?

The Good Country Index (Index) ranks countries according to how much they have contributed to the common good of humanity, minus what they have taken away – the calculation is relative to each nation’s size.

In other words, if your country is a strong humankind creditor it will rank well, if it is a strong debtor it will rank badly.

UK ranked fourth placeThe United Kingdom scored well in Science & Technology, Health & Wellbeing and Prosperity & Equality, but very badly in International Peace & Security (probably because of arms exports). (Image: Data taken from Good Country Website)

The Index looks at each country and gives it a score for each category, which are:

– Culture

– Health & Wellbeing

– International Peace & Security

– Planet & Climate

– Prosperity & Equality

– Science & Technology

– World Order

What is the purpose of the Good Country Index?

The Index was created by Simon Anholt, a British policy advisor who has worked with the leaders of more than fifty nations, helping their governments develop and implement a number of strategies to improve political, economic, and cultural engagement with other countries.

He started off with The Good Country, an organization whose aim is to change how our leaders and politicians run our countries.

GovernanceAccording to “The aim of the Good Country is simple but ambitious: to change the culture of governance worldwide.”

According to Anholt, his aim is:

“To help them understand they’re not just responsible for their own citizens, but for every man, woman, child and animal on the planet.”

“To tell them they’re not just responsible for their own little slice of territory, but for the whole of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere above it. And to help them act like they mean it.”

Anholt insists The Good Country does not make moral judgements about nations. The definition of a Good Country is very simple: “A country that contributes to the greater good of humanity.”

Sweden’s English language newspaper The Local quoted Anholt as saying:

“Sweden must be bored of coming top in every bloody country index but that’s the fact of the matter. Sweden is in a bit of an elite when it comes to thinking about the rest of the world. The European model is one that trained countries to be much more outward looking, and Sweden is that more than the others.”

“Ranking number one in two categories is pretty amazing. Health and Wellbeing covers things like contributions to resolving pandemics and sending doctors to international health disasters. Prosperity and Equality is mainly about trade: how much beneficial trade Sweden indulges in with other countries, and how easy it makes international transactions.”

Simon AnholtIt was from Simon Anholt’s (above) experience of working with so many different countries, cities and regions, that the idea of the Good Country was born. He has published five books about nations and their role in the world. (Image:

Who won in each category?

Below is a list of the seven categories, and the winner:

Culture: Luxembourg.

Health & Wellbeing: Sweden.

International Peace & Security: South Africa.

Planet & Climate: Iceland.

Prosperity & Equality: Sweden.

– Science & Technology: UK.

World Order: Austria.

The three worst-scoring nations were Libya (163rd), Equatorial New Guinea (162nd) and Mauritania (161st).

We are all in the same boat

According to The Good Country, most of the problems in the world today are really just symptoms of a bigger, underlying problem:

“We haven’t yet worked out how to organise ourselves as a single species inhabiting a single planet. This can change.”

Problems like terrorism, economic chaos, human trafficking, migration, pandemic and climate change are multiplying because of globalisation.

The internet, airplanes, smartphones and other technologies connect everybody and everything, so that not only does all the good stuff spread, but the bad stuff too.

– Today one person with a cold can trigger a pandemic,

– One geek with a computer – or even a smartphone – can bring a whole power grid to a halt.

– Just one bank can bring the global financial system to its knees.

These problems are tied into too many factors that go beyond national borders for one country to fix on its own. The United States cannot fix climate change. Italy cannot fix migration. Mexico cannot resolve the drug trafficking problem. Greece cannot address the economic crisis alone.

We all need to cooperate and collaborate much more closely if we really want the world to work.

However, most of the time, we don’t. Why is that? According to The Good Country, this is because:

“The seven billion people who created all these problems are organised in two hundred tribes called nations. Each one is run by a government that’s totally focused on the national interest: what will make us richer, happier, safer and stronger?”

“They don’t worry too much if that makes others poorer, unhappier, more vulnerable and weaker because, well, they’re foreigners. And foreigners can’t vote.

But, will this ever change – can it? Anholt thinks it can. He says it will change when we – the people who keep those governments in power – wake them all up and make them realise that the world has changed, which means that their jobs have changed with it.

We and our governments have to realise that foreigners aren’t aliens, they are humans just like we are, and we care about them.

Countries today are not islands any more, unconnected to the rest of the world. Today, they are all components of one global system. If it fails, then we all fail.

There won’t be any winners and losers any more – just losers. And the evidence of that simple truth is building up all around us, every day.

The Good Country website wrote:

“That’s why Simon Anholt started the Good Country: to change how our leaders run our countries. To help them understand they’re not just responsible for their own citizens, but for every man, woman, child and animal on the planet.”

“To tell them they’re not just responsible for their own little slice of territory, but for the whole of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere above it. And to help them act like they mean it.”

Video – How to make a good country: Simon Anholt

  1. Argyros George Argyrou says

    Yet another index which has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. Egypt ranks first in International Peace & Security?! Are they serious? A country run by a puppet of the military which topped the last regime and which has suffered two and possibly a third deadly terrorist attack on it’s planes and on top of that a hijacking in the past year and where it’s not safe for foreigners or tourists especially if they’re Christian and the UK is 64? First in International Peace & Security? Are the people who compiled this list out of their puny rotting feeble minds?

  2. Kafir says

    Sweden? What the hell? Is that a joke;

    Forty years after the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the formerly homogenous Sweden into a multicultural country, violent crime has increased by 300% and rapes by 1,472%. Sweden is now number two on the list of rape countries, surpassed only by Lesotho in Southern Africa.

  3. togglers says


  4. Simon says

    One ‘deadly’ terrorist attack on it’s planes, and safe for almost a million British visitors every year. But you’re missing the INTERNATIONAL part of International Peace & Security… This category is about how a country is contributing to world security.

    Britain is 64th since we’re one of the top five arms dealers of the world. If we didn’t sell guns, missiles and warplanes to any regime with a couple of million in the bank then we might be a bit better off.

    btw – Egypt isn’t even first in the category!

  5. dfjkbvdjkf says

    This list looks like the sort of thing an insecure teenager would do: listing her friends in order: I like X more than Y, but not as much as Z.
    Not only is it highly subjective in its choice of categories and rankings within them, but the weighting of each topic would seem to be a purely personal choice: who is to say if “world order” is more important than “climate change”?

    And is there anyone who would associate Luxembourg with culture?

  6. Argyros George Argyrou says

    I stand corrected. Egypt is 2nd in the whole whole world in International Peace & Security. It’s still a complete and utter joke. There still isn’t any peace and there still isn’t any security in Egypt. Egypt is a net exporter of terrorism and religious bigotry and intolerance and one of the main buyers of western arms which it uses to suppress it’s own people. .

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