New Index shows US falls short in backing for global prosperity

The United States has a long way to go in improving policies that support shared global prosperity, according to a Center for Global Development (CGD) index released a week before the US presidential debate on foreign policy.

Still the world’s largest economy, with GDP more than twice that of number two China, the United States nonetheless falls in the bottom half of the Center’s 2012 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), ranking 19th out of 27 high-income countries, with especially low marks for aid, environment, and security policies.

The United States scores above average on only two of the seven index components – trade and migration – and is outperformed by all the major industrialized countries except Italy and Japan.

The CDI scores wealthy governments on helping poor countries via seven linkages: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. It averages the seven components for an overall score.

The US role in global poverty reduction was part of the national conversation during the 2008 presidential elections, when both then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain pledged to improve US foreign assistance and other policies that support development.

In contrast, during this election there has been almost no discussion of the US role in making the world a fairer, safer place, as the national debate has focused mostly on domestic issues, especially the state of the American economy.

Development has been raised during the campaign just once, late last month, when Republican candidate Mitt Romney told an audience at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City that he favored a new approach to foreign assistance that would be a “bold break from the past.”

For all the results, visit the Center for Global Development.


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