America's dominance in terms of technology has been eclipsed by several countries in Europe and Asia, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, an international group based in Geneva. The ranking, which has been published every year since 2001, places countries in order based on their "networked readiness." This is defined by looking at a country's information and communication technology networks, and assessing how effective they are, how many people can access them, how regulated they are, and how much they are actually used by constituencies ranging from businesses to individuals to government agencies. The U.S. has, until this year, always ranked number one. It fell to sixth place "mainly due to relative deterioration of the political and regulatory environment."
Who pulled ahead? Denmark ranked first this year, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and Holland. Iceland, Norway, and Britain round out the top ten.
Though the economists who created the ranking suggest that the U.S. government has, through some of its policies, compromised our information and communications networks, the report says that the U.S. "maintains its primacy in innovation, driven by one of the world's best tertiary education systems and its high degree of cooperation with the industry as well as by the extremely efficient market environment displayed. The latter has been very conducive to the development and prospering of the [tech] sector (in particular, the availability of venture-capital, sophistication of the financial market and the ease to start a business)."
What do you think? Have certain government policies weakened network access and integrity? If so, which ones? And do you have experience in any of the countries that have leapfrogged ahead of us on this ranking? If so, do you agree or disagree with the report's authors concerning the tech edge those countries are supposed to have achieved relative to the U.S.?
Last updated: Mar 29, 2007
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman