Austria and Finland Among Top Three in Promoting Prosperity, Australia Currently Leads the World, Legatum Prosperity Index Reveals

NEW YORK, October 14 /PRNewswire/ --
- The Legatum Institute Ranks 104 Countries in the Legatum Prosperity
Index by how Well They Foster Economic Growth and Personal Wellbeing.

European countries dominate the top ten in the 2008 Legatum Prosperity
Index, published today. The Index defines prosperity as a holistic
combination of material wealth and life satisfaction, measuring how well
nations are promoting both economic growth and quality of life. Australia
holds the top spot, narrowly ahead of Austria and Finland. Germany ranks 4th,
Switzerland 7th and Denmark is 9th in promoting overall prosperity. Yemen
ranks last, following several African nations including Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Prosperity Index assesses 104 nations around the world by
measuring 44 different indicators of both economic competitiveness and
liveability. Full rankings are available at http://www.prosperity.com. The
top three-ranked countries in the Legatum Prosperity Index, Australia,
Austria and Finland, demonstrate the new principles of well-rounded
prosperity by their separate economic and social paths to the top.

Austria scores highly in education, which is vital to long
term income growth, as well as health, a key to quality of life. Finland
boasts of high governance, helping to drive both wealth and wellbeing in the
country. In addition, the Finns report very high levels of satisfaction with
the freedom to choose the course of their own lives. Germany ranks third
overall in economic competitiveness, surpassed only by Singapore and Hong
Kong, and demonstrates high levels of education, invested capital growth and
innovation. Switzerland ranks 4th overall in promoting life satisfaction
through good governance, high incomes and community life.

In general, the Nordic countries achieve top scores in the drivers of
life satisfaction. These countries are rich, highly democratic, extremely
healthy, enjoy vibrant community life, and their citizens have great personal
and political freedom to make choices in determining the course of their own
lives. No other region can match the Nordic performance in all of these
indicators of liveability. At the same time, however, the Nordic countries
score less well on economic vibrancy and innovation, competition in domestic
markets, and particularly, on entrepreneurship.

Dr. William Inboden, senior vice president of the Legatum
Institute commented that, "True prosperity consists of more than money. It
also includes happiness, health, and liberty. The Prosperity Index shows that
in addition to economic success, a society's prosperity is based on strong
families and communities, political and religious liberty, education and
opportunity, and a healthy environment."

Australia leads the Index because of its strong performance in education,
governance, and promoting entrepreneurship. The top 25 percent of the Index
is also marked by a number of countries with imbalanced results. Nordic
countries score very well on liveability indicators, but poorly on some key
wealth indicators. Asian countries report strong indicators of economic
competitiveness, but show comparative weaknesses in liveability, including
limited equality of opportunity for women, a degraded natural environment,
and long working hours.

All successful countries demonstrate several common
attributes, with the top ten scoring especially high on five economic
indicators:


- Growth in Invested Capital,

- Good Governance on economic issues,

- Commercialising Innovation,

- Good Governance on political issues,

- High Incomes.

All but Singapore and Hong Kong scored nearly as well on
community life and family life indicators, which are important measures of
social capital. Conversely, the bottom 25 percent of the Index countries get
especially low marks on the above indicators as well as freedom of choice.
They are particularly burdened by low incomes and high dependence on foreign
aid.

The 2008 Prosperity Index finds that both individuals and
governments have a role to play in promoting national prosperity. Alan
McCormick, a Managing Director at Legatum, observed, "The 2008 Legatum
Prosperity Index reveals that governments alone cannot mandate prosperity,
but they can foster an environment that encourages prosperity through
implementation of wise policies. Individual citizens are responsible for
taking ownership of their lives and, in richer countries, embracing the
opportunities that accompany increased freedom and privilege." A website
dedicated to measuring personal prosperity has been created at
http://www.myprosperity.com.

Mr McCormick concluded, "Amidst widespread global economic
insecurity, the findings of this year's Index could not be timelier. The
Prosperity Index is a manifesto for advancing long-term national prosperity
which can act as a guide for leaders from all sections of society."

About the Legatum Prosperity Index

The 2008 Legatum Prosperity Index is based on statistical
analysis of more than 40 years of data for more than 100 countries worldwide,
produced and supervised by the Legatum Institute, with input from the
research consultancy Oxford Analytica and a panel of respected advisors in
the fields of economics, history, development, sociology, and political
science.

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute ("LI") is an independent research
organisation. The Institute's mission is to research and promote the
principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of
human liberty and wellbeing.

For more information about the Legatum Institute, please visit
http://www.li.com.

The Institute is part of the Legatum Group, a private global
investment organisation focused on investing in the international capital
markets and the promotion of sustainable development.

For more information about the Legatum Group, please visit
http://www.legatum.com.

Notes to Editors Regarding the 2008 Legatum Prosperity Index

2008 Legatum Prosperity Index Rankings


BEST 20 REST OF EUROPE

1 AUSTRALIA 22 SPAIN
2 AUSTRIA 23 CZECH REPUBLIC
2 FINLAND 23 SLOVENIA
4 GERMANY 25 ITALY
4 SINGAPORE 31 SLOVAKIA
4 UNITED STATES 33 PORTUGAL
7 SWITZERLAND 34 GREECE
8 HONG KONG 36 ESTONIA
9 DENMARK 38 POLAND
9 NEW ZEALAND 41 HUNGARY
11 NETHERLANDS 41 LATVIA
12 SWEDEN 47 ROMANIA
13 JAPAN 48 CROATIA
14 BELGIUM 57 RUSSIA
14 CANADA 61 TURKEY
14 FRANCE 64 BULGARIA
14 NORWAY 68 MACEDONIA
14 UNITED KINGDOM 68 UKRAINE
19 ISRAEL 78 BELARUS
20 IRELAND 83 MOLDOVA

Observations from the Index Research

The key drivers for each country vary according to their level
of development. For poorer countries, with average per capita incomes of less
than US$10,000, raising incomes is a particular priority. For these
countries, the most important components of economic competitiveness are:


1) Government effectiveness

2) Levels of education

3) Growth in invested capital

4) Low costs of starting a business

5) Commercialisation of innovation

6) Low dependence on foreign aid

7) Low dependence on commodity exports

8) Economic openness

For countries with incomes of more than US$20,000 per person,
the most important drivers of continued economic growth are:


1) Invested capital

2) Education

3) Entrepreneurship

4) Commercialisation of innovation

Furthermore, in richer countries, moving beyond material
wealth is a key element of continued prosperity. The most important factors
for these countries are:


1) Continued high levels of income

2) Good health

3) Political rights and civil liberties

4) Freedom of choice

5) Charitable Giving

6) Family Life

7) Equality of opportunity

8) Pleasant natural environment

9) Community Life

10) Religious freedom

Find Out More

A website dedicated to the Index has been created at
http://www.prosperity.com. In addition to viewing the 2008 Legatum Prosperity
Index report, browsers may freely examine individual country profiles and
conclusions, as well as experiment with interactive tools which allow for
graphical comparison of countries and the components of their prosperity.

A website dedicated to measuring personal prosperity is also
available at http://www.myprosperity.com. Interviews with Dr. Inboden, in
video, audio and text format, are available at http://www.prosperity.com and
http://www.cantos.com.
Media Enquiries, Hamish Banks, Legatum, Dubai, UAE, Telephone: +971-4-317-5800, Email: hamish.banks@legatum.com; Nicole Anwer, Legatum, Dubai, UAE, Telephone: +971-4-317-5800, Email: nicole.anwer@legatum.com; Danielle Perissi, Edelman, New York, NY, Telephone: +1-212-704-8281, Email: danielle.perissi@edelman.com; Arwa Husain, Adfactors Public Relations, Mumbai, India, Telephone: +971-22-2281-3565, Email: arwa.husain@adfactorspr.com

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