The idea of the Good Country Index is simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away, relative to its size. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organisations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.
We’re not making moral judgments about countries. What we mean by a Good Country is something much simpler: it’s a country that contributes to the greater good of humanity. A country that serves the interests of its own people, but without harming — and preferably by advancing — the interests of people in other countries too.
The Good Country Index is one of a series of projects we’ll be launching over the coming months and years to start a global debate about what countries are really for. Do they exist purely to serve the interests of their own politicians, businesses and citizens, or are they actively working for all of humanity and the whole planet? The debate is a critical one, because if the first answer is the correct one, we’re all in deep trouble.
The Good Country Index doesn’t measure what countries do at home. This isn’t because we think these things are unimportant, of course, but because there are plenty of surveys that already measure them. What the Index does aim to do is to start a global discussion about how countries can balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world, because this is essential for the future of humanity and the health of our planet. We hope that looking at these results will encourage you to take part in that discussion.
Today as never before, we desperately need a world made of good countries. We will only get them if we strive for them: with our leaders, our companies, our societies, and of course ourselves.