The world has changed a lot in the last five years. The financial crisis of 2008 caused many western countries to reassess and question the foundations of their economic prosperity. The Arab Spring brought the taste of freedom to millions of people across the Arab world for the first time. And most recently of all, the ongoing civil war in Syria sparked fresh debate about Western responsibility to secure global peace and stability.
In an age when data and information are the new currency, we are never short of material for analysis, punditry, and reaction. However, in such an environment, it can be wise to take a step back and view a situation from a distance. This year the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index™ includes five consecutive years of comparable data and can offer a unique insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.
Traditionally, a nation’s prosperity has been based solely on macroeconomic indicators such as a country’s income, represented either by GDP or by average income per person (GDP per capita). However, most people would agree that prosperity is more than just the accumulation of material wealth, it is also the joy of everyday life and the prospect of being able to build an even better life in the future. The Prosperity Index is distinctive in that it is the only global measurement of prosperity based on both income and wellbeing.