about a year ago we were in new zealand and we were surprised by how much emphasis they placed on environmental protections and labor management. it’s an impressively progressive country on an amazing array of topics, from civil liberties, environmentalism and nuclear non-proliferation (i suppose having U.S. atomic testing fallout impacting you will tend to color your perspective on a number of these topics.) that said, for all of their regulation they’re apparently outranking the U.S. when it comes to ease of doing business.
here’s a remarkably detailed breakdown of the elements contributing to this ranking. i suspect that rick perry for all of his regulation hatin' might do well to rip a page or two from the kiwis.
as an aside - on the international economic statistics front, you would do well to download the OECD’s iPhone Fact Book app. there’s a crapload of interesting stuff in there and the next time you’re wondering where a country sits economically or in the development curve you can do so from the comfort of your couch.