The world’s top ten economies can be determined by examining factors such as growth prospects, business environments, infrastructure, educational levels of the citizens, and governmental policies and institutions.
Perhaps the most authoritative ranking is the Global Competitiveness Report. It is produced in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, and captures both the perceptions of thousands of business leaders and statistical analysis by academics at universities and think tanks worldwide.Indeed, it includes the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index, developed by Professor Martin at Columbia University, and the Business Competitiveness Index, developed by Professor Porter at the Harvard Business School.
According to the Global Competitiveness Index 2007 - 2008, the top ten economies of the world are:
It is interesting to note that seven out of the top ten economies are from Europe. These include a number of small but well-run economies, such as Switzerland, Denmark and Finland. Singapore has a similar profile and is often dubbed the ‘Switzerland of Asia’.
Some of the largest economies in the world, however, such as China, France, Italy, Spain and Canada do not make the top ten list by competitiveness.
The Chinese economy still has many elements of state control and lacks some crucial legislative frameworks such as IP protection. France continues to be victimized by powerful unions while Italy has been called the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ after growth stalled in 1999. Spain is suffering from some fundamental economic problems such as its vast trade deficit, lower competitiveness and higher inflation.