We Lag Behind Our Counterparts
Strongest and Weakest Performing Countries Continues to Widen
Legatum Prosperity Index 2019 the world is more prosperous than it has ever
been. Nearly 90 percent of world countries experience more prosperity than
they did 10 years ago. The London based Legatum Institute analysts say the
improvement in global prosperity has been driven by more open economies and
improvements to peopleís lived experiences. Peopleís lived experiences have
improved due to better health, education, and living conditions.
Using the Prosperity Index framework, nations
around the world can assess their strengths and weaknesses in order to
determine the economic and strategic choices that need to be made to further
build inclusive societies, open economies, and empowered people to drive
greater levels of prosperity.
The key findings
from 2019 report are:
prosperity continues to improve, but the gap between the strongest and weakest
performing countries continues to widen
The improvement in global prosperity
has been driven by more open economies and improvements to peopleís lived
are more open due to the improvement in the investment environment and digital
connectivity, as well as a reduction in administrative burdens
lived experiences have improved due to better health, education, and living
institutions are holding back further improvements to global prosperity
are more tolerant, although there is less freedom to speak, associate, and
Overall, the world is more prosperous than it
has ever been, with Denmark overtaking Norway as the strongest performer.
North America remains the most prosperous region, although, as a result of its
prosperity stagnating, the gap with Western Europe has narrowed.
Iranís prosperity record in 2019 like the
previous years is not so bright. Iran is 119th in the overall Prosperity Index
rankings. Since 2009, Iran has remained at the same position. In none of the
Legatum reports you will see the name of Iran in the list of countries that
have marked a significant improvement in any pillars of prosperity. It is
frustrating to know that Iranian prosperity is lower than those of Kenya and
Zambia in Africa.
Of the 167
countries measured and tracked for prosperity in this yearís index, 148
(containing 88% of the worldís population) have seen an improvement in their
prosperity since 2009. Although Myanmar (124th) has seen the most improvement
in prosperity, government treatment of the Rohingya Muslims is cause for
concern. Togo (144th) and Kyrgyzstan (88th) are the second and third most
improved countries, rising 14 and 18 ranks respectively.
The framework of
the index captures prosperity through three domains: inclusive societies, open
economies and empowered people.
The Inclusive Societies domain captures the
relationship structures within a society, between individuals and broader
institutions, and the degree to which they either enable or obstruct societal
cohesion and collective development.
These social and legal institutions are
essential in protecting the fundamental freedoms of individuals and their
ability to flourish. This domain rests on the pillars of safety and security,
personal freedom, governance and social capital.
Inclusive Societies Domain
Iranís overall score of Inclusive Societies
domain dropped from 40 in 2009 to 39.3 in 2019. The country ranked 151 in this
domain in 2019, which indicates no change compared with 10 years ago. In the
MENA region, Iran ranks 14.
The safety and security pillar of Inclusive
Societies domain measures the degree to which war, conflict, terror and crime
have destabilized the security of individuals, both immediately and through
longer lasting effects.
Iranís score in
this pillar improved from 54 in 2009 to 56.8 and the countryís ranking
improved by seven places to 131 in 2019. The countryís ranking in the MENA
region was 12th in the 2019 report.
freedom pillar measures progress toward basic legal rights, individual
liberties and social tolerance. Iranís score rose from 15.5 in the past decade
to 16.9 and its ranking improved by two places to 163. In the MENA region, the
country ranked 17th among 19 countries.
The governance pillar measures the extent to
which there are checks and restraints on power and whether governments operate
effectively and without corruption. Iranís score dropped from 38.8 to 38.3
over the 10 years and its ranking dropped by four places to 138 among 167
countries. The country ranked 14th in the MENA region.
The social capital pillar measures the strength
of personal and social relationships, institutional trust, social norms and
civic participation in a country. Iranís score slid from 51.8 in 2009 to 45.2
in 2019 and its ranking plummeted by 71 places to 129. The countryís ranking
in the MENA region was 12th.
Open Economies Domain
Economies domain captures the extent to which an economy is open to
competition, encourages innovation and investment, promotes business and
trade, and facilitates inclusive growth.
For a society to
be truly prosperous, it requires an economy that embodies these ideals. This
domain rests on the pillars of investment environment, enterprise conditions,
market access and infrastructure, and economic quality.
Iranís overall score in the Open Economies
domain has improved from 38.4 in 2009 to 41.2 in 2019 and the countryís
ranking has increased by four spots to 124. In the MENA region, Iran ranked
14th in this domain.
environment pillar of Open Economies domain measures the extent to which
investments are adequately protected and readily accessible. Iranís score has
dropped from 42.8 in the past decade to 42.7 and its ranking has deteriorated
by seven places to 126 in 2019. In the MENA region, the country ranks 14th.
The pillar of
enterprise conditions measures the degree to which regulations enable
businesses to start, compete and expand. Iranís score has improved from 37.9
to 39.4 over 10 years but its score has dropped by five positions. Iran ranks
16th in the region.
The market access and infrastructure pillar
measures the quality of the infrastructure that enables trade, and distortions
in the market for goods and services. The countryís score has jumped from 28.9
to 39.7 and its ranking has improved by 18 places to 110 over the period. The
country ranks 15th in the MENA region.
The economic quality pillar measures how well a
stateís economy is equipped to generate wealth sustainably and with the full
engagement of its workforce. Iranís score has plunged from 44.1 to 42.8 and
its ranking has dropped by six positions to 101 while it ranks 10th in the
Empowered People Domain
The Empowered People domain captures the quality
of peopleís living experience and associated aspects that enable individuals
to reach their full potential through autonomy and self-determination. This
domain rests on the pillars of living conditions, health, education and
Iranís overall score in this domain improved
from 61.7 to 64.5 while its ranking remained unchanged at 90 over the 10-year
period. The country was placed 11th in the MENA region.
The pillar of living conditions measures the
degree to which a reasonable quality of life is experienced by all, including
material resources, shelter, basic services and connectivity. Iranís score has
improved from 74.3 to 77.1 over the past decade but its ranking has dropped by
two spots to 73. In the MENA region, Iran ranks 12th.
pillar measures the extent to which people are healthy and have access to
services essential for maintaining good health, including health outcomes,
health systems, illness, risk factors and mortality rates. The countryís score
has improved from 70.3 to 71.3 over 10 years while its ranking has slid by
three positions to 88 in 2019. The country ranks 12th in the MENA region.
Iran performed most strongly in terms of
education and living conditions, but was weakest in personal freedom. The
biggest improvement compared to a decade ago came in market access and
pillar measures enrolment, outcomes and quality across four stages of
education (pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education), as well as
skills in the adult population. The countryís score has climbed from 58.3 to
65.5 over the past decade and its ranking has jumped by 14 places to 71. The
country ranks sixth in the region vis-ŗ-vis education.
environment pillar measures aspects of the physical environment, which have a
direct effect on people in their daily lives and changes that might impact the
prosperity of future generations. The countryís score has increased from 43.9
to 44.1 over the past decade but its ranking has remained unchanged at 152.
The country ranks 14th in the region.
It is important
to note that the pillars within each domain do not only associate with other
pillars in the domain, but interrelate with pillars across other domains and
each pillar should therefore be understood in the wider context of the index.
The highest ranking went to Denmark, Norway and
Switzerland. Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany,
Luxembourg and Iceland are also among the top 10 countries in the ranking. The
poorest countries are the Central African Republic, Yemen and South Sudan. It
would be unfortunate if you knew that only four countries - Yemen, Eritrea,
Sudan and Syria - are worse off than Iran. Even South Sudan - at the bottom of
the table - experiences individual freedom three steps higher than Iran.
It is not
difficult to see the decline of the two components of personal freedom and
social capital that has made Iran unable to make good use of its human
resources capacity for the sake of prosperity.
The story of Iranís
prosperity, however, has become boring. While the economy of our middle-income
country has the potential to create greater prosperity for its citizens, the
inefficiency of bureaucracy, the weakness of governance, and the tightening of
the scope for individual freedoms have made Iran lag behind its counterparts
in the prosperity race. It is a fact that, without realizing it, we still have
to see Iranís prosperity decline and falling in the world rankings.
By: Moloud Pakravan