Those were the words on the cover of this week’s Newsweek. The actual article was titled “The Best Countries in the World.” Newsweek rated the countries that, if you were born today, would provide you with “the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life.”
This was followed by the list of “winners,” and after that lead article was a follow up piece that was subtitled, “Why cold, dark, small, and depressive nations top the rankings.” At first I thought the article was talking about me in winter. Cold (all the time), dark (mood/clothing), small (actually achieved year round), depressive (refer to items 1-3). But what it meant was that the top 10 countries included Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Canada (not small, but certainly cold), Netherlands, Denmark.
The list itself is open to a lot of discussion. Finland is #1. The United States is #11. I’m not sure why Jamaica is #47, while Turkey is #52. Or why Ireland is #17 and Italy #23. I only know that at #100, I might take Burkina Faso off my list for consideration as a good place to relocate. On the other hand, since there are 195 countries in the world (give or take the ones that are always disappearing and the new ones that are always appearing), Burkina Faso might actually be a good bet.
There was also a category comparable to Miss Congeniality, the countries that didn’t come anywhere near the top, but won something else that should make them feel OK but probably doesn’t. India (#78) is the best place to fly a kite. The best place for sex is the Czech Republic (#25). The best place to be surgically enhanced is Brazil (#48).
Oh, one more: The best place to be a rapper is Switzerland (#2!). Take that, Jay-Z.