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Taiwan surpasses the US and China! In the WDSI 2020, Taiwan ranks 36 while US falls to number 40

The Foundation of Chinese Culture for Sustainable Development (FCCSD), which first revealed its Wang Dao Sustainability Index (WDSI) to the global community in 2018, returns with the release of the second edition, WDSI 2020. The results have changed across the years, with the Nordic countries of Denmark and Sweden taking up the 1st and 2nd places, respectively, while Taiwan stays at the 36th place.


In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across countries rich and poor, pushing all to ponder where the future lies. Which country will be more sustainable? As the virus spreads throughout the world, for a sustainability index which was initiated from cultural concern, we found that death rates of the Christian cultural circle reached 58 times more than the Confucian’s.


WDSI 2020 evaluates 97 countries/economies, of which 33 are advanced economies and 64 emerging economies, through indices across the domains of “Global Ethics”, “Inclusive Development”, and “Environmental Equilibrium”. The overall top 10 countries, all from Europe, place high value on environmental protection and social welfare. The 10 rankings are listed in order: Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Norway, and the UK.


Alarming changes took place globally within the 2018 to 2020 period. The raging trade war between China and the United States, global trade decline, increasing wealth inequality, combined with a rogue virus strain, has wedged liberal economies into isolationism, thus provokes international conflicts. Since the 2020 edition draws upon data up to the end of 2019, it is but a portent of the sea change.


Among advanced economies, Japan, ranking 11th overall in WDSI 2020, scored highest in Asia, as well as among the countries with a population of over 100 million. The US still placed lowest in this group, ranking 40th overall, down 5 notches since 2018. Notably, the US scored low in the domains of Global Ethics and Inclusive Development. The bad performance doesn’t reflect the recent pandemic outbreak in 2020. If the more than 16 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 300,000 deaths were factored into the survey, the ranking would drop further.


Except Vietnam (63rd), all of the South-eastern Asian countries influenced by Confucian culture rank in the upper half overall. These are: Japan (11th), Korea (20th), Singapore (30th), Taiwan (36th), China (38th). Among them, Korea has made a leap to 20th place.


The WDSI project was driven by the FCSSD’s concern for the global refugee crisis during global economic growth pursuits and expansionism of superpowers. “Facing the helpless faces searching for a way and for something to eat made imperative our belief in the Wang Dao precept of Chinese culture to provide a new thinking to the chaotic world.” Convener Chao-shiuan Liu, Chairman of the FCSSD and Project Manager Yun-han Chu led a team of scholars to research and develop the WDSI index. After cross-analysis study, the results of two editions reflected a correlation coefficient of 0.9 between the WDSI and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is convinced that the WDSI has universal practicality in the world of 21st century.


People are prepared to wave good bye to the distressful year of 2020. Meanwhile FCSSD hosted a WDSI 2020 online Launch on December 22 and held discussions with the subject of “Inequality, Pandemic, Trade War.” The report is also available in WDSI’s website.