If you ever feel the need to get your patience tested, I would suggest you try teaching Economics to a student of Engineering! I do not wish to bring into question the comprehension skill of engineers but I would also like to add that if left to their own devices, they wouldn’t be able to see Economics if it were to trapeze right in front of their eyes while riding a unicycle. However, do try teaching Economics to a student who has devoted their life to imbibing the definite sciences. It would most certainly help you explore newer tolerance levels. Fortunately for my engineer friend, I have still not deterred from the mammoth task at hand –tutoring him in Economics.
One fine day we were dealing with important macro economics concepts of human development, life expectancy, real national income and suffice to say neither of us was having the time of our life! So, while trying to hammer the concept of Human Development Index into his head, I had an epiphany! Wouldn’t the easiest way to explain macro-Economics would be to take my friend on a journey into economies that have out-performed on their HDI rankings; which brings us to this list of 10 countries that according to HDI rankings, given by the United Nations, are most favourable to live in:
HDI Score – 0.912
Japan has one of the most advanced and intricate transport systems in the world. As a society it is tolerant of many things, absolutely nothing you do will be frowned upon if you are in Japan, you can dress funny, wear wigs, sleep in public or even pass-out drunk (it means you are working hard!). What is even better is that they extend the same courtesy to religion too. The Government is excellent and the administration cares about the health and well-being of its people which is why the education system & healthcare system is high in quality and affordable. The food is rich in nutrient and convenience stores are aplenty. The Japanese are a hard-working lot so one might come across a harsh work atmosphere, the work hours are long and a high degree of dedication is expected of employees. Fun fact: the toilets have in-built heaters and coolers to regulate water temperature!
HDI Score – 0.913
It is quiet little country in the Alps that is peaceful and freedom-loving. The public amenities are top-notch and public services are dispensed quickly and effectively leading to fewer queues and crowding. The people are polite and friendly. The quality and quantity of consumer products is vast. Roads are wide and clean, sidewalks too. The country has a unique trait that sets it apart from all the other countries in the list i.e. direct Democracy. Ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it also is home to several multi-nationals companies, hence standing proof to the good job climate in the country.
HDI Score – 0.916
Sweden is reputed as the most advanced country for women. Women are given equal rights and are seen manning the workforce just as fiercely as men. In addition, the country offers universal healthcare to all its citizens wherein you pay very little for treatment. If you are a kid, under 18 years of age, and a citizen of Sweden, your parents pay nothing for medical care! It’s all neatly factored into the healthcare system. This mirrors the proper and diligent utilization of tax resources. The presence of an independent and fearless media coupled with transparent politics ensures good governance practices. In terms of environment, Sweden has very clean air and the long days and short nights in summer mean you can easily fit recreational activities in with your work schedule; it is never too dark to go out for a run! As a citizen of Sweden, you get 5 weeks paid vacation in addition to public holidays and sick leave! That alone could be a deal-maker for some!
HDI Score – 0.916
Ireland ties with Sweden with the same HDI. The Republic of Ireland also provides universal healthcare, funded by general taxation, for its citizens. A person may have to pay subsidized fees for certain kinds of treatment depending upon illness, age, income, etc. Maternity services are free and child healthcare services are provided free of cost to children up to 6months. The country has low rate of corporation tax. If you are an artist or a writer or engaged in any fine arts, Ireland is the place to be! All work of art is excused from taxation. In terms of living conditions, Ireland has a higher standard of living as compared to England, housing is cheap and most importantly, low crime rate evidences that it is a safe country. It boasts of all four seasons viz. summer, winter, autumn, spring and also of distinct cultural heritage. The Irish love to socialize and pubs are favoured hangouts.
6. New Zealand
HDI Score – 0.919
If you have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then you know that New Zealand is a country bestowed with spectacular views and gifted with photogenic landscapes! That apart, New Zealand has very low population which would mean no crowding in public spaces and plenty of fresh air and more oxygen too (kidding)! The healthcare isn’t free but is heavily subsidized; emergency care is free, entirely. The banking system is well developed so you may find yourself dealing with very less cash; most transactions will get done through electronic transfers. The work atmosphere and job market is in good shape and as an employee you find yourself with an entire month of paid leave, 11 public holidays and a 14 week maternity leave for female employees that have been with the organization for over a year. It is also a country that is very culturally diverse.
HDI Score – 0.920
Germans are known all over the world as perfectionists but what very few people know is that Germans believe in the spirit of family and have immense respect for their roots and culture. A working class German citizen enjoys a minimum of 28 days of paid vacation, 14 public holidays and unlimited sick leave. Both the transport and banking system is highly developed. This means that you can get from anywhere to anywhere relying solely on public transport, which is not only cheap but also very clean and modern. As with New Zealand, here also electronic transfers find vast. Germany provides its citizens with very high quality food and drink. The Black Forest Cake so omnipresent in bakery shops today is a gift from Germany and so is the sausage! Germans love their beer! There are places where wine and beer cost less than water, this alone could be reason enough for some people to relocate to this beautiful country!
HDI Score – 0.921
If you are in Netherlands, you are within driving distance of at least 5 other countries! You basically have every next vacation charted out for you! Still don’t see the reason to move to Netherlands? Let me give you a few more. The country has high life expectancy: that measure alone stands a witness to how conducive to life Netherlands is! Apart from that it is a very liberal society that is accepting of all people, race, gender and sexual preferences notwithstanding. The economic conditions are conducive to growth and entrepreneurial spirit is well-bred. The transportation is brilliant with some places boasting of 6 trains per hour! The country is also a patron of environmentally friendly practices and has bike paths everywhere! One shouldn’t be surprised if one saw more people on bicycles than in cars. Flowers are cheap in Netherlands since Amsterdam is the “flower-basket” of the world; a good country to be when Valentine’s Day is round the corner.
3. United States of America
HDI Score – 0.937
This country doesn’t need me to be its publicist so let me provide a short summary of all the amenities it gives its citizens that has helped it ensure a good HDI ranking: Clean water, a well-managed waste disposal system, a high quality of life, good governance, variety of restaurants, amusement parks, social security schemes, unemployment benefits, etc. The Land of the Free also has immense cultural diversity; people from various countries, belonging to various religions have made this country their home. Let me also point out how it breeds innovation and entrepreneurial spirit which has been the seed for the technological revolution that gave us both the Internet and the Silicon Valley!
HDI Score – 0.938
It isn’t surprising that Australia made it to the second spot on the list. A high standard of living, affordable housing, excellent public transport, an integrated Medicare system and world class education are just few of the many amenities available to an average Australian. The country is gifted in terms of natural environment and is the proud home to several beaches, landscapes and a wide range of wildlife. Australians enjoy sport and live a fit and enthusiastic lifestyle. There are world class restaurants. People are friendly and from diverse cultures. Presently, Australian MNC’s are falling short of skilled labour which translates into immense job opportunities capable of absorbing a large number of people.
HDI Score – 0.955
Norway is not a member of the European Union. This is good news because it is safe from the economic turmoil currently being faced by EU countries. This could be the singular reason why it is in the throes of economic prosperity and able to afford the best climate for human well-being. The country’s virtues: free healthcare, fresh water, low pollution, low rate of violence, high life expectancy, transparent politics, strong social welfare system comprising of child benefits, unemployment benefits, pensions, maternity/paternity and medical benefits. The living expenses in Norway are very high but the incomes match them. The taxes also are high but the vast public amenities, particularly free education, is incentive enough; in addition the politics and administration is transparent. The Norwegian society is very peaceful and much more egalitarian than most other Western countries. Cherry on the top – Aurora borealis- Nature’s night light show! Why would anybody not want to live in Norway? There really is no answer to that question