Despite the current financial crisis,the United States is world number one in economic competitiveness. According to the World Economic Forum’s annual global competitiveness report just released in Geneva the US continues to top the overall world ranking. One WEF economist says the country excels in its capacity to innovate, the quality of its institutions, and the flexibility of the goods and labour markets.
The US is followed in the top rankings by Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. France was also among those countries showing an improvement by gaining two points since last year and is now ranked 16th.
Down three places went the UK and as it slipped out of the top ten competitive nations worldwide for the first time.Some observers say Britain’s weaker showing can be attributed to a weakening of its financial markets.
Stefano Petruci, head of the Italian Think-Tank Oltrelinea gave his view on why Italy has dropped further down the rankings to occupy 49th place this year.
He said, “In the past 20 years Italy, even in the periods in which it could advance in world and European competitiveness, has in fact progressively lost ground. Italy is not able to reverse that negative tendency because it has not had a renewal of the fundamentals of society, in infrastructure, new technologies and especially in professional development.”
The WEF report asserts that notwithstanding the dire situation on financial markets the US and most European countries continue to be the most competitive economies in the world.
Rising food and energy prices, a major international financial crisis and the related slowdown in the world’s leading economies are confronting policymakers with new economic management challenges. One official said today’s volatility underscores the importance of a competitiveness-supporting economic environment that can help national economies to weather these types of shocks.