Countries where we live

As we all know, humankind has organized itself into geopolitical units, called countries.
Historically, people have preferred to belong to a particular country and to share a sense of national identity. Homophily is an archaic trait: we like to spend more time with people who are like ourselves. While there are people, however, who
believe that the idea of countries, as nation-states, is outdated and the source of
conflict, countries remain a primary means of controlling people, organizing society,
and managing the distribution of wealth.
Countries are ranked and rated now by an enormous number of criteria, adopted by
hundreds of different organizations, sometimes strongly connected to specific countries
(frequently to the US). In a book about the ranking of countries, 125 authors
Cooley and Snyder identify ninety-five indices that have been introduced to evaluate
and compare states. The indices are lumped into categories, like “Business and Economics,” “Country Risk,” “Democracy and Governance,” “Environment,” “Media and
Press,” “Security Issues and Conflict,” “Social Welfare,” and “Transparency.”
A ranked list of countries based on the social welfare function defined by Amartya Sen
has been prepared annually by using data from the Central Intelligence Agency, and
another version is prepared using data from the International Monetary Found and
United Nations. (Remember: the Sen social welfare function is calculated as product
of GDP per capita and the difference between 1 and the society’s inequality measure,
and it is reported in terms of dollars per person per year.) The last published list is
from 2015:
1. Qatar | 82884
2. Luxembourg | 49242
3. Norway | 47861
4. Singapore | 43518
5. Switzerland | 42335
6. Netherlands | 34853
7. Sweden | 34443 per
8. Denmark | 33907
9. Germany | 33719
10. Iceland | 33695
11. United States | 33260
Qatar has a well-developed oil exploration industry, and the petroleum industry accounts for 60% of the country’s GDP. Its low (but rapidly increasing due to an influx
of migrant workers) population contributes to a large GDP per capita. The population
explosion due to the immigration of (young) males has produced an extreme
gender imbalance (there are only about 700; 000 women in a country of 2:5 million
people). Many immigrants, mostly involved in building the infrastructure needed for
the upcoming (well, soccer) World Cup, live in labor camps. However, since the Gini
inequality index measures income inequalities but not social inequalities, Qatar still
leads the list. Please note, that the scores of the last six countries are close to each
others, and the specific ranking does not have too much significance. (It is somewhat

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