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Taiwan surpasses the US and China! Taiwan ranks 36, leading the US, which falls to 40


The Foundation of Chinese Culture for Sustainable Development, which first revealed its Wang Dao Sustainability Index (WDSI) to the global community in 2018, returns in the final days of 2020 with the release of the second edition, WDSI 2020. Rankings for each country have changed across the years, with the Nordic countries of Denmark and Sweden now 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, forcing all to ponder where the future lies. Which countries take a more sustainable approach? As the virus propagates the world’s regions, the research team for the “cultural” studies-focused WDSI found that death rates of Christian countries reached 58 times that of Confucian ones.


WDSI 2020 evaluates 97 countries or economies, of which 33 are developed economies and 64 developing economies, through indices across the domains of Global Ethics, Inclusive Development, and Environmental Equilibrium. The overall top 10 ranking countries are all from Europe and place high value on environmental protection and social welfare. These are, in order from the top place: 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 US, global trade decline, widening wealth gap, combined with a rogue virus strain, has wedged liberal economies into isolationism, and given rise to international conflict. Because WDSI 2020 draws upon data up to the end of 2019, it is but a portent of the sea change.


Among developed economies, Japan, ranking 11th overall in WDSI 2020, is the highest-ranking nation in Asia, as well as in all countries of the world with a population of over 100 million. The US still places last in this group, ranking 40th overall, falling 5 places since WDSI 2018. Notably, the US, with scores at the bottom half of indices concerning Global Ethics and Inclusive Development, would’ve fallen further if the more than 16 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and caused more than 300,000 deaths were factored into the survey.


Additionally, historically Confucian cultures of East Asia, all except for Vietnam, rank in the upper half overall. These are, in order of overall WDSI 2020 ranking: Japan (11th), Korea (20th), Singapore (30th), Taiwan (36th), China (38th), China (38th), and Vietnam (63rd). Among these, Korea shows the most improvement, rising to 20th place.