New Zealand “the New Leader of the Free World”
“When I say ‘new leader of the free world’, I don’t just mean Jacinda Ardern. I mean New Zealand. As a society,” London-based consultant, leading thinker and author Umair Haque writes in a feature for Medium. “New Zealand is a textbook example of what it means to be a thriving, functioning, modern society in the 21st century.”
“It is a leader in that sense. It ranks seventh in the Social Progress Index – and is going to rise far higher after coronavirus, easily cracking the top five or three. America, meanwhile, ranks a dismal … 26th. And it’s going to plummet. There’s something special about New Zealand, happening in it, right about now. The world should pay attention,” Haque writes.
“It’s not just its world-leading coronavirus response. New Zealand is a pioneer in many respects, today – an institutional innovator. It’s testing out what’s called a ‘well-being budget’. We invest in the things which improve lives most, first. It’s becoming what I might call one of the world’s first eudaimonic economies. That choice is going to pay off in spades.
“Now, it’s easy to idealise a politician. I’m trying to tell a story that goes deeper than that – about the maturity and evolution of a society. I often say ‘gentle and wise New Zealand’. I mean those words. It takes a society of thoughtful and gentle and wise people to elect an Ardern, just as it takes a society of grinning American Idiots to be ruled by a Trump. There is something special about New Zealanders right about now, in an unstable world, buffeted by catastrophe.”
Original article by Umair Haque, Medium, May 28, 2020.