Posting in Education
In the latest World Economic Forum rankings, Switzerland gets high marks for innovation and efficiency. The US slips as a result of lack of confidence in its politicians and institutions.
What's the best place in the world to launch or sustain a business? Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013. Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th).
The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies. The US has slipped from 5th place last year, however.
The authors of the latest report examined the business climates of 144 nations,and produced the rankings based on factors such as institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic climates, health, primary education, higher education, training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, technological readiness, business sophistication, and innovation.
Switzerland retained the highest ranking as a result of its strengths "related to innovation and labor market efficiency, well as the sophistication of its business sector," the report states. "Switzerland’s scientific research institutions are among the world’s best, and the strong collaboration between its academic and business sectors, combined with high company spending on R&D, ensures that much of this research is translated into marketable products and processes reinforced by strong intellectual property protection."
The central European nation also gets high marks for its productivity, fueled by "excellent on-the-job-training opportunities, both citizens and private companies that are proactive at adapting the latest technologies, and labor markets that balance employee protection with the interests of employers." The only place Switzerland lags is slipping university enrollment rates, the report states.
While the United States remains in the top 10, the nation's competitiveness has been on the decline, the report states. "Although many structural features continue to make its economy extremely productive, a number of escalating and unaddressed weaknesses have lowered the US ranking in recent years." These weaknesses include a purported "lack of macroeconomic stability," as well as a lack of business confidence in public and private institutions and politicians. "Business leaders also remain concerned about the government’s ability to maintain arms-length relationships with the private sector, and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully."
On the plus side, the report adds, "US companies are highly sophisticated and innovative, supported by an excellent university system that collaborates admirably with the business sector in R&D. Combined with flexible labor markets and the scale opportunities afforded by the sheer size of its domestic economy—the largest in the world by far—these qualities continue to make the United States very competitive."
The large emerging market economies (BRICS) display different performances. The People’s Republic of China (29th) continues to lead the group. Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.
Behind Singapore, several Asian economies are performing strongly, with Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th), Taiwan, China (13th) and the Republic of Korea (19th) all in the top 20.
Overall, the report observes, countries in Northern Europe have been doing very well in terms of competitiveness, while Southern Europe, "i.e. Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and particularly Greece (96th) continue to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labor markets and an innovation deficit."
Sep 5, 2012
With a $16 Trillion national debt (one-third of it added during the Obama administration) and no budget, the rest of the world knows that the U.S. is not serious about deficit reduction, even if the U.S. voters do not.
They prosper as a nation because of a banking system which does not care how much blood is on the money they receive. They will accept money from Nazis, dictators, drug cartels, tax cheats or any piece of garbage with dollar. They are as guilty as the people they protect. I believe it is time for us to call them out. We should be putting much more pressure on Switzerland to turn over names of people who took money out of the country to avoid paying taxes. We should not trade with them and we should ask other countries not to trade with them. During World Wars I & II they were cowards who profited from being neutral. Why are we so soft on white collar criminals? I believe they do more damage to society than criminals with guns. They destroy trust in institutions that we rely on throughout society whether it is government, bankers, corporations, unions or Wall Street. Once trust is lost the whole system starts to breakdown.
http://useconomy.about.com/od/tradepolicy/p/us-china-trade.htm The following quote is from the above web page 'In 2011, theÂ U.S. trade deficitÂ withÂ ChinaÂ was $295 billion. This was up significantly from the year before, when theÂ trade deficitÂ was $273 billion. Both were higher than any prior year. The U.S. has a trade deficit with China despite the fact that its exports to that country were the highest in history. In 2011, the U.S. exported $103.9 billion in goods, an all-time record. (Exports in 2010 were only $91.9 billion.) However,Â importsÂ fromÂ China also set a record -- $399.3 billion, more than the $364.9 billion imported in 2010. The U.S. imports consumer electronics, clothing and machinery from China. A lot of the imports are from U.S. based companies that send raw materials to China for cheap assembly. When they are shipped back to the U.S., they are called imports even though they are profiting American-owned companies. (Source: U.S. Census,Â U.S. Trade in Goods With China) Why Is There a U.S. Trade Deficit with China?: China is able to produce goods that Americans want at a low cost. Despite the loss in jobs, this is unlikely to change. That's because most people would rather pay as little as possible for computers, electronics and clothing -- even if it means other Americans lose their jobs. That's why the situation is unlikely to change, despite recurrent bills by legislators to imposetariffsÂ or other forms ofÂ trade protectionismÂ with China. How does China keep prices so low? Most economists agree that China's competitive pricing is a result of two factors: 1. A lower standard of living, which allows companies in China to pay lower wages to workers. 2. An exchange rate that is partially set to be always priced lower than the dollar.'