Mankind has tendencies for both conflict and generosity. Simon Anholt conducted a study called the Nations Brand Index in 2005, on people’s perception of countries. Sampling and polling over seventy percent of the world’s population, Anholt began his search for the type of self-interest that would motivate countries to act on a global scale.
Anholt found that the image of a country is vitally important to its government’s survival, and that this image greatly affects the economic growth and stability of a country. The results that were collected were utilized to form the Nations Brand Index, that now consists of over 200 billion pieces of data on perceptions of countries across the world.
Anholt found that good countries, not necessarily wealthy or powerful ones, were the most appealing on a global scale. He summarizes his findings with these words, “in order to do well, you need to do good”.
From these findings, Anholt developed a second index called the Good Country Index, which measures how much a country contributes to the populations of other countries. The Good Country Index found that Ireland contributed the most to the world in terms of per head of population and per dollar of GDP. Finland came second in ranking, and the U.S. ranked 21st.
How does the U.S. move up in the rankings? We can start with increasing foreign aid, which is less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Per capita, the United States spends $80.37 towards development aid. The average American spends more per year on candy, alone. Ireland contributes 6.8 percent of income per individual, certainly a larger amount than the average Americans candy budget. This is what makes Ireland “good” and creates an image admired by other countries. In order to do well, America needs to do more good.
– Christopher Kolezynski