Best Countries for Global Business

Figuring out a nation's economic growth isn't easy, but a global index can help clear the path

Kaare Viemose for TIME

A worker at a Lego factory in Denmark, number three on the World Economic Forum's report on global competitiveness.

It's a centuries-old debate: how do some nations attain long-term economic growth and an ever higher standard of living while others don't? What determines whether people in your part of the planet live in McMansions, mobile homes or mud huts? In the 18th century, proto-economist Adam Smith pointed to the transformative effect of the division of labor. In the 19th, David Ricardo highlighted the benefits of trade. In the 20th, Harvard University's Michael Porter made the case for industry clusters. Geography, physical capital, technology, worker education--they've all taken a turn as the supposed silver bullet.

In that tradition, the World Economic...

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