The Times of London headlined last week, 3.25.08, "Britain is world's 7th most stable and prosperous nation". The article, by The Times' defence editor Michael Evans, refers to a report by Jane's Information Services, Ltd., and overseen by Christian Le Mière, managing editor of Jane's Country Risk. Evans' article lists the UK on place 7 and the US on 22, which relates to quantified rank (97 v. 93 points of 100). Excluding ties, The Times puts UK 8th and US 24th.
The Top 24 "most stable and prosperous countries in the world":
6 San Marino
11 New Zealand
The list ranks 235 countries and dependent territories recognized by the United Nations, like Falklands (UK) or Guam (US). The Times states that the list was generated by a year-long investigation.
The goal of Jane's ranking was to determine life quality in terms of stability and prosperity, in a "global assessment of every nation's achievements and standards." Stability and prosperity were parsed as social achievements, threats faced, and pressures suffered. According to Le Mière, the rating "took into account each nation's political structures, social and economic trends, military and security risks and external relations".
The US scores 93 out of 100, "partly because of the proliferation of small arms owned by Americans and the threat to the population posed by the flow of drugs from across the Mexican border."
The supreme domestic goal of the US Republican rule since January 2001 has been stability and prosperity, concepts meant just as Jane's intended them. Jane's has a fivefold focus on defence, security, transport, public safety, and law enforcement.
This is measuring Republicans by Republican standards.
And this is the result?
"Twenty-four" is the ranking of the nation ...
... that has the most weapons on the planet?
... that spents more than any other country on security?
... that imprisons the worldwide largest portion of any society?
... that's arguably fighting in Iraq for reasons of "transport"?
(Add the facts -- Iraq was about oil, and we need oil to get around, since we lack bike paths and bullet trains.)
What an achievement.
This is not a ranking of the US based on deep-ecological criteria dear to the Mad Hun's blogging heart, such as Enlightenment, Humanity, Sustainability, and Climate Education & Control.
The USA is flunking Mad Hun criteria, but that's beside the point. Since 2001 and counting, we had to learn that American humanity is spelled "Guantanamo Bay"; that American enlightenment is spelled "Cheney"; that American sustainability is spelled "Tampa Bay"; and that the state of climate education and control is globally reflected in USA v. Bali 2007, and locally mirrored in the plan of the USF Honors College to cut the Climate Seminars slated for 2008-2009. None of this matters; it's all beside the point. The point is that Jane's ranking is a ranking by the Bush-crowd's own standards.
It's about "security". It's about "prosperity".
And the result is that the top ten are European; that the top twenty are European and Downunder, and that Canada beats the USA.
Ironically, The Times report highlights the substance of environmental thought. When a culture embraces postmodern contempt for verifiable reality (a contempt also known as Rovism), pretends there're no biospherical constraints and environmental patterns worth its attention, and disdains the policy goals of replicability, humanity, and evolution -- well, then, such a culture is pushing the "down" button in the cosmic elevator of fate.
There's little you can do then.
... except, maybe, watching an elephant paint a self-portrait.