There's this thing called the Legatum Prosperity Index. Basically, it's a bunch of economic experts who go and analyze the countries around the world and rank them. There's eight things that they look at: the local economy, entrepreneurship trends, health aspects of the society, the way that the local government works, education, safety and security, general freedom within the country, and finally....social capital.
Naturally, you'd pause over social capital and ask what the heck it means? Well....it's not really a precise term, and so it gets misused and abused. Basically, my definition would be.....a bunch of diverse folks take advantage of their society and progress toward their goals in life. If you offered everyone free bananas and ice cream....then their social capital would be that they'd all have banana splits, if they could just take advantage of what you offered them. I'm guessing my definition will upset some folks, but then they can't readily explain the term.
So this prosperity index is shaken up, and out comes a list of the top ten countries. The US isn't listed on those ten. We come up number twelve, between the UK and Luxembourg. The top three? Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
How did we fall out of the top of the rankings? Well....some folks analyzed the heck out of this and came to this conclusion....the American dream basically flipped. The American dream is in trouble, and not working for society.
The odds of the prosperity index changing over the next five years? I'd take a pretty good guess that we aren't likely to change much. Economically, we are locked into a stagnant period and we have to accept the fact that we might be staying there between Luxembourg and the UK for a while.
Should it worry us? No. A guy can feel pretty prosperous....with a new Ford F-150 pick-up, a new 50-inch TV, and a fancy gas grill. I'm not sure if the economic experts ever measure life with reality.