UK is no longer great - so who is?

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It's official, there's really nothing great about Britain. A new study carried out by the Legatum Institute (which looks at wealth and quality of life) has decided that the UK doesn't even make the top ten. It has slipped down to number 13 - with its economy only scraping into the separate list of top economies at number 21.

So who topped the list, who was bottom, and why did the UK do so badly?

Best countries

The top ten were:
Norway
Denmark
Australia
New Zealand
Sweden
Canada
Finland
Switzerland
Netherlands
United States

The reasons they do well

This is one top 10 where China doesn't feature: it seems that spectacular economic growth has some social and personal costs. Its economy did take 10th place - leaping an incredible 52 places from last year, so we can expect a much higher placing in 2012 as the country comes to dominate the globe.

Norway's position came particularly from strong ratings on fronts like education, health, personal safety and social capacity (which shows how much people trust society and are engaged with those around them). It goes to show what a country can achieve when everyone pulls together.

Denmark is another one with strong social capacity - and 1.6% inflation and 6% unemployment don't hurt either.

And Australia scored particularly well for education, personal freedom and social capacity.

By contrast the UK was rated 12th for its social capacity

Meanwhile, the US clung onto tenth place, but is expected to struggle to hang onto its position as other countries out-pace its growth. American Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's international affairs programme, said at the launch of the index: "Our dominance is being eroded by the rise of the rest. The US will have to hustle, or fall further in such rankings.

The worst countries

The bottom ten were:
Central African Republic
Zimbabwe
Ethiopia
Pakistan
Yemen
Sudan
Nigeria
Mozambique
Kenya
Zambia

The UK's performance

The UK actually held onto the same place it took in 2010. It isn't a disaster across the board. It came fourth in the list of most entrepreneurial countries, which backs all those small businesses clamouring for government help on the grounds it's the entrepreneurs that can save this country from sure and certain economic disaster.

That economic disaster was palpable after the country took 21st place for its economy. One of its biggest Achilles heels is that people in the UK are so terrible at saving money.

It also did poorly on safety and security (23rd), education (19th) and health (17th) - which is hardly a ringing endorsement of the success of politicians of recent years.

All this put it behind Ireland at number 11 - a position it held despite having to be economically bailed out by countries like the UK.

But what do you think? Why has the UK done so badly? Does it deserve it position? Let us know in the comments.
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