Before reading any further I suggest that you watch this TED talk from Simon Anholt last month in Berlin. It’s a fascinating talk about a really interesting idea; what is a “good” country?
Having watched the talk you can then check out the full results of his Good Country Index.
The overall rankings throw up some results which might appear to be rather bizarre. Australia ranks 15th overall, but it is in the details of some of the categories that things get strange. For example, Belgium ranks first in the Culture category! Even more bizarre is Egypt’s rank as first in the International Peace and Security category; how on earth does that make any sense? Australia’s highest individual score comes in Planet and Climate where we rank 6th; our lowest (89th) is in International Peace and Security.
Putting aside the odd results for a moment, the concept is a really interesting one in particular when Anholt points out the self interest for a country to be seen as “good”; the positive impact such perceptions have on costs, exports and tourism (amongst other things). I would suggest that the concept could just as well be applied to smaller units (i.e. States and perhaps even Local Government Areas) and that a concern about being seen as “good” (within Australia) might be an interesting prism through which to view State policies.