The Countries That Can Best Handle Change, From Earthquakes To Technology Revolutions

Short-term shocks, like natural disasters, and long-term shifts can both undermine a nation's economy. What happens next depends on the country. Wealth helps--but it's a lot more complicated than that.

As millions of dollars flowed into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, individuals, organizations and governments that donated cash became concerned about whether the funds would be spent well.

“There was a thought that, regardless the amount of development money being poured into Haiti, they wouldn’t be able to use it as effectively as other nations might. We couldn’t put our finger on exactly why, but that was the general sense from the people who had worked there,” says Timothy Stiles, global chair of international development assistance services at accounting and consulting services firm KPMG.

From this intuition came KPMG’s Change Readiness Index (CRI), a collaboration with Oxford Economics. The Index, now covering 90 countries in its second year of publication, is an attempt to measure the relative ability of nations to not only effectively manage and respond to short-term shocks (like an earthquake or terrorism) and long-term changes (like climate change or emerging technological shifts), but also to “cultivate opportunities” from what these changes present. On the map above, the countries that are green rated highest on the index, and the countries that are red rated lowest.

“It’s not so much my country is doing better than your country,” explains Stiles. “We’re hoping that this will provide a tool within individual countries for dialogue around government and policy.”

You can see an interactive graphic of the rankings here, and a map here.

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