New Year’s Lists

ImageIt’s that time of year again when everyone draws up lists: The most memorable moments of the last year, things to do better in the new year, etc..

CNNMoney drew up a list of the world’s best economies in 2013 based on IMF statistics. Economies are complex systems and it’s interesting how the world’s best economy can be very different depending on the measure chosen.

  • Brunei:        Least government debt
  • Equatorial Guinea:        Most investment
  • South Sudan:        Fastest growing
  • USA:        Largest economy
  • Luxembourg:        Highest per capita income

Interestingly, The Economist did not rely on the usual macroeconomic measures. The magazine named Uruguay as its country of the year for being modest but bold, reform-minded, liberal, and fun-loving!

The Christian Science Monitor named Mexico as its Country of the Year because “no other country has done more this past year to put reforms in place to transform a nation – and with startling democratic consensus.”

What is best depends a lot on what you wish to do.

If you are a tourist, Lonely Planet named 10 countries as Best in Travel in 2013: Sri Lanka, Montenegro, South Korea, Ecuador, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Iceland, Turkey, Dominican Republic, and Madagascar.

Best countries for business? Forbes named Ireland as tops in this category, followed closely by New Zealand.

Best places to live? named Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden as the top three countries.

The Philippines did not figure in any of these lists (The country can’t be all that bad!).

We could actually  have given Mexico a run for their money as CSM Country of the Year. (Well, maybe if the government had acted more decisively on completely eliminating pork barrel, passed the Freedom of Information act, bore down on the police force and the NBI to neutralize the impunity by which journalists were being murdered in cold blood, and expanded the number of courts to reduce the backlog in court cases. Maybe these things should be in our government officials’ New Year’s resolutions.)

So where did the country figure prominently?

International Living ranked the Philippines as the 15th best place to retire but No. 1 in terms of cost of living. And if a retiree happens to love beer, well the Philippines happened to be the second cheapest place in the world for him to get his favorite brew. (I will recommend San Miguel Premium All-Malt, a gold-colored, refreshing, light-bodied lager that’s perfect for the tropical weather.)

And speaking of the tropics, the Philippines was recently included in the top 10 destinations for 2014 by Rough Guide because of  “dazzling array of pristine reefs, volcanoes, sleepy backpacker islands and the famed rice terraces”.

The Philippines also happened to win an incredible 5 international beauty titles in 2013. It might not constitute a large enough sample to make a statistically sound conclusion, but this does suggest that half the country’s population can be rather winsome.
Batanes 2 041 Lighthouse at Sabtang


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