Today in Lists

Not only did we learn this week that Harvard is the awesomest college in America, Newsweek decided that semi-arbitrary ordinal ranking of colleges is small time and decided to rank countries. Finland comes out as number one, followed by Switzerland. Coincidentally—or perhaps not—those fine countries were the locations of two of my favorite junkets. So listen up world leaders, the key to national success is to give me a free trip to your country.

Helsinki as Tokyo

Rounding out the top ten are Sweden, Australia, Luxembourg, Norway, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, and Denmark. The United States comes in at #11 but since Luxembourg is hardly a country I think we should grant ourselves top ten status. At any rate, you obviously shouldn’t take this kind of exercise too seriously. But what you see across a wide range of methodological approaches to quality of life is usually that the Anglophone and “small northern european” blocs of countries come out the best. And I do think there’s something telling in that about the success of broadly speaking “liberal” policies of both the higher and lower tax varieties as opposed to the more corporatist approaches you see on the continent.