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The 1998 Competitive Index Published: Sunday, July 12, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales & Mr. Ramón Luis Rivera

New economic and social realities demand that societies configure dynamic competitive strategies, scenario planning, breakthrough public policies and market- driven ventures. The idea is to better understand the underlying dynamics of international competitiveness for making better strategic decisions in a rapidly changing world. Thus, it is important to study The World Competitiveness YearBook 1998. Such a profound document analyzes and ranks the ability of countries to provide an environment, which sustains the competitiveness of enterprises. It features 46 industrialized and emerging economies, provides 259 different criteria, grouped into eight Competitiveness Input Factors, and gathering 2/3 of its database from international, regional and country statistics. Also, 1/3 of the data comes from the Executive Survey (4,314 respondents), offering integrated data over a 5 year period, ensuring the accuracy and seriousness of findings through the collaboration of 29 Partner Institutes worldwide.

As stated by the distinguished Professor Stéphane Garelli, globalization has forced countries to actively work and reduce disparities in the competitiveness of their working environments. Following the YearBook, many countries are closely ranked, evidencing an ever-growing degree of convergence.

The US is more competitive than ever. Seven years of continuous economic expansion (the third longest period of expansion this century), unemployment at a 24 year low, inflation at a 30 year-low and stock exchange indexes have roughly tripled since 1991. The US is robustly installed in its position as the most competitive nation in the world. Privatization, deregulation, flexibility in the labor market, and especially massive in new technology has been part of the success formula. Only a mayor crisis in the stock market or a long-term social psychology of complacency could threaten a situation that is historically superb.

As published by IMD, in a nutshell, the results are the following:

USA (1): The Good Old days, today?
Singapore (2),
China Hong Kong (3),
Luxembourg (9)
Northern Europe: another strong performance
The Anglo Saxon countries: taking advantage of an early start Germany (14),
Japan (18): still struggling
France (21),
Belgium (23),
Italy (30): special cases?
The Emerging Europe: diverse but thriving
East Asia: battered but resilient and cheap
China (24),
India (41),
Russia (46): 3 very different giants
Latin America on the move


Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.
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