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.