Comparing and contrasting governments and political systems is a difficult feat. Difference of opinion and methods of measuring how we go about deciding which governments better than others means it can seem almost impossible.However, many experts believe that there is a way to compare governmental systems in such a way that a comprehensive, reliable and in a way that a ranking can be produced. One such ranking is published by the Legatum Institute, based in the United Kingdom. From its methodology, it finds that Switzerland has the best government in the world.
Europe Leads the Way
European countries top the list of Best Governments in the World, the majority of whom are governed by an EU- and UN-affiliated leadership. The top ten countries with the best government according to the Legatum Index Government Ranking are Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Canada, Norway, United Kingdom and Australia. The United States ranks 11th which incidentally is the same ranking the country has for the most prosperous countries list.
In the democratic Swiss state, the people have the foremost political power, giving them increased opportunities to express their opinion by way of popular voting. All its people have the right to vote and they have the freedom to choose the people who will represent them within their Federal Assembly. The Kingdom of Denmark, on the other hand, is a constitutional monarchy. Therein, their monarch, currently Queen Margrethe II, is the Head of State. The Prime Minister, meanwhile, presides over the government's Cabinet, where the most important executive powers are carried out.
In Sweden, the National Cabinet is the supreme executive authority. They too have a Prime Minister, who is typically assigned by cabinet ministers, and someone called the Speaker of the Riksdag heading the Swedish unicameral national legislature. Legislative power lies with the Parliament in Finland, whereas Luxembourg has their own brand of Parliamentary Democracy. Meanwhile, Norway has a monarchy, the UK a Constitutional Monarchy, and finally Australia its Commonwealth government akin to those of New Zealand and Canada's Federal forms of governance, under the British crown.
Among the factors that have put Switzerland at the top of the rankings is their excellent health care system, top notch educational programs, low levels of air and water pollution, freedom of speech, the right to responsibly defend oneself, a priority given to innovation, and a stable economic environment. These factors are also those being commonly shared by the other countries topping the best government ranking, such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Importance of Good Governance to Nations as a Whole
Good governance remains among the benchmarks against which all nations, rich and poor, are often ranked. It is interesting to note that the countries ranked as having the best governments in the world also received similar or closely similar rankings for other lists such as Most Prosperous Countries of the World, the World’s Happiest People, the Most Globally Competitive Countries and the World’s Most Satisfied People. It would appear that no matter how powerful or progressive or wealthy a nation may be, good governance plays an important role when considering how successful a nation is across the board. As a point in fact, though the United States currently claims to have one of the world’s largest economies, it only ranks 11th in both the Best Governance list and the Best Countries to Live In list. Another market giant, China, has even more disparity. Despite having the 3rd best Economy ranking, it is ranked as 52nd all around, and 67th in Governance. Indeed, "prosperity" itself extends far beyond dollars and cents and economic leverage, with happiness and good leadership being just as, if not even more, important.