In its annual ranking of 85 nations, US News & World Report has placed Switzerland in top position, based on 73 different criteria.
While it did not come up tops in all of the categories, Switzerland did sufficiently well in others to get an overall high score, as well as high scores in several individual categories.
There are some of them:
Open for Business (100 points out of 100)
This title may be somewhat misleading, as it could be taken to mean that shops and other businesses are open until late hours.
If this were the case, Switzerland wouldn’t get the maximum score; in fact, it would probably place toward the bottom of the ranking.
Instead, this category means ‘business friendly’— and that Switzerland certainly is.
As the report puts it, “The countries considered the most business-friendly are those that are perceived to best balance stability and expense. These market-oriented countries are a haven for capitalists and corporations”.
In other words, the government has created a good environment for businesses to thrive, by offering, for instance, tax incentives and a skilled labour force.
This is actually a good thing because when businesses do well, so does the entire economy.
The proof that Switzerland excels in this category is that it has “low unemployment, and one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world”, the report states.
“This helps explain why the country placed first on the list of nations perceived as a good place to headquarter a corporation, as well as scoring in the top five among best countries for a comfortable retirement, green living and to start a career”.
Quality of Life (96.7)
This term could mean different things to different people. But as defined in the report, “beyond the essential ideas of broad access to food, housing, quality education, health care and employment, quality of life may also include intangibles such as job security, political stability, individual freedom and environmental quality”.
Switzerland certainly offers all four. Unemployment is low, which means there are plenty of job opportunities.
The country is politically stable from within, with well established democratic processes — such as referendums — providing security against abuses of power.
Freedom, including the right to ‘self-determination’, is a constitutional right.
And while ecological concerns related to global warming do exist, the Swiss are good at protecting the nature that surrounds them.
Other quality-of-life categories that weight in Switzerland’s favour include safety, well-developed public education, and a top-notch public health system.
Switzerland has done well across all these categories, but this is no news to anyone who has been following such rankings: the country, or its individual cities, regularly figure among those boasting a high quality of life.
Social purpose (86.6)
This means the country cares about human and animal rights, the environment, gender equality, religious freedom, property rights, well-distributed political power, racial equity, climate goals, and social justice.
Switzerland does particularly well in some of these categories, and less so in others.
In terms of animal rights, for instance, the country’s legislation is among the toughest in the world: as an example, small domestic animals must be kept in pairs to ensure social interaction, and it is illegal to boil a live lobster.
Another category in which Switzerland succeeds possibly better than other nations is the distribution of political power — under Switzerland’s unique system of direct democracy, people, rather than politicians, hold and wield all the power.
You will find the overall rankings in this link.