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Ranking countries against each other
Making comparisons is a way of life for many individuals but when making comparisons between countries the criteria needs to be established with attributes which are common among all the items or countries being compared. Making comparisons between countries with the many differences which exist between cultures and the type of governments leaves the comparisons open for criticism.
Using the data collected to rank countries and their methods on initiatives which in some cases may not be on an equal level raises questions. Data is and oddity of sorts as the reliability and objectivity of the data can be questioned as to the completeness and the objective of those presenting the comparisons. We all know when organizations present comparisons and it happens not only in government circles but in society through advertising in some instances.
Almost on a daily basis countries and specifically the United States is compared and ranked with other countries of the world. There are always going to be questions regarding not only the outcome of comparisons regardless of the item but recent comparisons between the United States and others resulted in a lower ranking than in years past. While this may signal the need for change to improve the ranking of our country with regards to the elements being evaluated dependent upon the data no action may be necessary.
One of the questions which need to be answered is whether we as a country should pay any attention to the ranking given by others with regards to our stature as a country. Data needs to be not only validated to be but the reliability and impartiality of those doing the evaluation. Countries will use the data in some respects to promote their own agenda with regards to the elements in the evaluation. While efforts to improve the stature of any country are admirable the actions should not be based totally on evaluations by others.
Each country needs to evaluate their elements being rated and ranked to determine if the conclusions being presented is truly reflective of the quality and success in existence. The United States has recently been evaluated for falling behind in math and science and the latest involves efforts to combat global warming. The global warming comparison is generated from the United Nations. Global warming is a subject that is not accepted by all individuals.
Comparisons between countries are a fact that is not going to go away. Each country wants to outdo the others. As previously stated the philosophy of comparing countries is like comparing apples and oranges. They are different and so is each country. The practice of comparing countries based on actions or inactions regarding specific elements of their economy should not be given any importance. The statistics as they are allow leaders in each country to implement actions to bring their rating or ranking on specific subjects up when it actuality the ranking giving may not be accurate or reliable.
Recent evaluations of the United States which put us behind in science and math raises questions as there are many individuals who come from foreign lands to attend our colleges and universities. If our education system was behind in such subjects as math and science then why is there an influx of individuals from foreign lands desiring to achieve an education in our educational system.
Granted the evaluations presented may be a signal that some improvements need to be made but they should not be made based on evaluations from sources outside individual countries. It is always good to receive opinions from other sources but they are just opinions. The individuals or organizations conducting these evaluations and the criteria they use may not support the conclusions presented. This does not imply that their conclusions do not have merit but two individuals can look at the same data and arrive at a different conclusion. It can sometimes be a matter of the objective when the evaluation is conducted. Evaluating and ranking countries based on a set of criteria requires that the elements or characteristics be common across the board taking into account the differences between each country. The data on which an evaluation or ranking will be made must be complete and reliable including the source of the data being used.