Best Countries To Live in 2016
More than $1 trillion is pumped around the world in foreign direct investment each year, a country’s share of which is sometimes thought to signify its value and potential to the world.
Investors are drawn to what they don’t have. The things that make a country unique – its people, environment, relationships, framework and teachings – create four distinct factors identified in a report by the World Bank Group that motivate an individual or corporation to invest in that country: natural resources, markets, efficiency and strategic assets like technologies or brands.
The 2016 Best Countries rankings, conducted in partnership with brand strategy firm BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, asked more than 16,000 survey participants from four regions to associate countries with specific attributes.
The Best Countries to Invest In are ranked based on scores primarily from more than 4,000 business decision makers on a compilation of eight equally weighted country attributes: corrupt, dynamic, economically stable, entrepreneurial, favorable tax environment, innovative, skilled labor force and technological expertise.
Germany, the most populous nation in the European Union, possesses one of the largest economies in the world and has seen its role in the international community grow steadily since reunification. The Central European country borders nine nations, and its landscape varies, from the northern plains that reach to the North and Baltic seas to the Bavarian Alps in the south.
Germanic-speaking tribes in northern Europe date to antiquity, but the modern German state took shape in the 19th century. Defeats in the two world wars of the 20th century left the country divided, and reunification occurred in 1990 following the collapse of the East German communist state. Germany is a parliamentary democracy. The legacy of Nazism expresses itself today in the form of tough laws addressing hate speech and denial of the Holocaust.
Germany employs a social market economy – open-market capitalism that also carries certain social service guarantees. Its economy is one of the world’s largest and Germany is one of the globe’s leading importers and exporters. Services, which include industries such as telecommunications, health care and tourism, contribute the greatest amount to the country’s economy. Industry and agriculture are other significant economic sectors.
Germany possesses a highly skilled, affluent workforce. The country’s population is aging, however, raising questions about the high level of spending for social services. The overwhelming majority of citizens are ethnic German, withTurks and other Europeans representing significant minority populations. The country is one of the world’s most popular migration destinations, and the size of the foreign-born population in Germany has grown substantially in the 21st century.
Culturally, Germany has produced some of the world’s leading figures in the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts. The land that gave birth to the modern printing press, Ludwig van Beethoven and Immanuel Kant has strong traditions in literature, music and philosophy. Folk festivals remain popular in modern-day Germany, the most notable being the annual Oktoberfest.
Germany belongs to major international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, Group of 20, NATO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Canada takes up about two-fifths of the North American continent, making it the second-largest country in the world after Russia. The country is sparsely populated, with most of its 35.5 million residents living within 125 miles of the U.S. border. Canada’s expansive wilderness to the north plays a large role in Canadian identity, as does the country’s reputation of welcoming immigrants.
Although the Norse briefly settled in Canada during the 10th century, European exploration accelerated in the 1500s.France and Britain angled for control over the region, with the British cementing their dominance in 1763. The country was a collection of British colonies until it became a self-governing dominion in 1867.
Canadians pride themselves in encouraging all of their citizens to honor their own cultures. In 1971, Canada adopted a national policy of multiculturalism, which celebrates the country’s diversity. Canada has a long list of accomplished writers and artists. Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell are just a few of the Canadians who have made an impression on modern music.
Technically, Canada is a constitutional monarchy with the U.K. monarch as the head of state. The royal leader is represented locally by a largely ceremonial governor-general appointed by the Canadian prime minister. The country follows the British style of parliamentary democracy.
Canada is a high-tech industrial society with a high standard of living. Trade agreements in the 1980s and 1990s dramatically bolstered trade with the U.S., and now the two counties are each other’s largest trading partner. While the service sector is Canada’s biggest economic driver, the country is a significant exporter of energy, food and minerals. Canada ranks third in the world in proven oil reserves and is the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.
Canada faces domestic challenges related to the concerns of indigenous people and those in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec. While constitutional guarantees allow the province wide-ranging cultural and linguistic autonomy, movements for complete independence come in waves.
Canada is a member of the United Nations, through which it has participated in many peacekeeping missions. It is also a member of NATO and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Located off the northwest corner of Europe, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland. The U.K. is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable economic, political, scientific and cultural influence internationally.
The nation’s global influence has its roots in the British Empire that formed during the European colonial era and peaked in the early 20th century before embarking on decolonization following World War II. The United Kingdom of today dates to the formation of the Medieval Kingdom of England, and later, the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in the 17th century. The national government is divided between executive, legislative and judicial branches. The prime minister is the head of government and appoints members of the cabinet.
The capital city, London, is a major international financial center and one of the most visited cities in the world. The banking and tourism industries are parts of a larger service sector that powers much of the nation’s economic growth. The industrial revolution began in the U.K., and manufacturing – led by the automobile and aerospace industries – is a declining though still significant part of the nation’s economy.
The United Kingdom has attracted immigrants for centuries. Beginning in the second half of the 20th century, the sources of immigration began to diversify, coming from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean as well as from Central and Eastern Europe. Immigration has become a major focus of public debate in the 21st century.
The nation has a long history of major contributions to the arts and sciences. William Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest writers in the history of English literature. British scientists discovered gravity, hydrogen and penicillin and developed theories in aerodynamics and natural evolution. The nation continues to be at the scientific and technological fore. Stephen Hawking has produced groundbreaking work in cosmology and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The United Kingdom is home to some of the top universities in the world, including Oxford, Cambridge and the Imperial College of London.
The United Kingdom is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and is a member of major international organizations including the European Union, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, NATO and the Group of 20.
The United States of America is a North American country, half the size of Russia, bordering Canada and Mexico. The country is the world’s most dominant player in terms of economic and military might, and has left a significant cultural imprint in part due to its entertainment industry. After experiencing terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. launched its so-called War on Terror, which included the Iraq War and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The war has had wide-reaching effects on the country’s politics, economy and global alliances.
The American colonies declared independence from the British Empire in 1776 and were recognized as a new nation in 1783. The country nearly split in two during a civil war in the mid-1800s, but regained its footing in the 20th century, during which time it was on the winning side of both world wars.
The U.S. is a constitution-based federal republic comprised of 50 states. The U.S. economy is the world’s largest in terms of gross domestic product, and also the most technologically powerful. The country’s most significant exports are computers and electrical machinery, vehicles, chemical products, food, live animals and military equipment. The U.S. also has the world’s largest coal reserves.
The U.S. is culturally and racially diverse, and was shaped by large waves of immigration from Europe and beyond. American literature, art and music reflect the rich heritage of the county’s people. The U.S. is the birthplace of jazz, and Louis Armstrong, an African American, is one of the country’s most recognized and admired musicians. Prize-winning Jewish writers Saul Bellow and Philip Roth are some of the best known literary figures in the U.S. The media industry in the U.S. has a global audience, with its television shows, music videos and films distributed worldwide.
The country is home to some of the top universities in the world, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Despite being the foremost global power, the U.S. still faces domestic challenges, including racial tensions, income inequality and an increasingly polarized electorate. While national security is a concern, so too, is the debt incurred from wars meant to ensure it. The U.S. leads the developed world in deaths due to firearms.
The U.S. often takes a leading role in international organizations, and was a founding force behind institutions such as the United Nations, NATO and the World Bank.