Rather than repeat his work, I’ve chosen to look at where things are going well. Put another way, “What language should you learn to speak aside from English?” I took the 25 largest countries in terms of their economies and then removed ones where the people are very poor, and then removed the ones where the birth rate is so low that the population is aging rapidly. I then ranked them according to per capita income, which gives you a rough idea of how well off the citizens of that country are. In addition to the top 25, I threw in Ireland because it’s supposed to have one of the freest economies in the world and Ireland is cool. Also, I’m part Irish and so they’re doubly cool for me.
I got the data from the CIA World Factbook on the web. Insert your CIA jokes here.
Here we go.
The 25 largest economies, plus Ireland, in order of their Gross Domestic Product:
14. South Korea
22. South Africa
If the people of the country made less than $8,000 per year, that country gets thrown off the list. It’s an arbitrary number, but it reflects the fact that below a certain level you worry more about starving and freezing to death than you do studying geometry and starting a multinational corporation. Say goodbye to China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and the Philippines.
12. South Korea
18. South Africa
Countries where few children are being born are in for real trouble. You know those taxes you pay for Social Security and the retirement funds that come out of your paycheck? Up, up, up they go! I set the birthrate threshold at 1.7 births per woman. Anything below about 2.05 indicates a falling population, but I gave partial credit for countries that seem to be at least trying.
Japan, Germany, UK, Italy, Russia, Canada, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Netherlands and Poland, out, out, out you go!
8. South Africa
So here we have a list of the most powerful economies in the world that would be good places to live (because the people are doing OK) and will be in good shape 10 years from now (because they are still having kids). Let’s sort them by per capita income.
1. USA - $41,800
2. Ireland* - $34,100
3. Australia - $32,000
4. France - $29,900
5. Argentina - $13,600
6. South Africa - $11,900
7. Mexico - $10,000
8. Brazil - $8,500
9. Iran - $8,100
Of the top 8 plus Ireland, English-speaking countries take the top 3 slots. Thank you, Queen Victoria. If you don’t speak English now, you should. If you do speak English now, what’s your second language going to be? I count 3 Latin American countries in the mix and three unrelated countries. And yes, I know, some Latin countries speak Spanish and some speak Portugese.
Mark Steyn makes a good case against France. Riots and all that, you know.
South Africa has severe AIDS problems. No thank you.
Iran is not the best place to hold Easter services. Is it too late to change my flight to Tehran to a flight to Rio?
So what language should we learn? Let’s all say it together, class. “Buenos dias, amigo!”