The big emerging markets are still much in need of reforms
REFORM is a universal medicine urged upon struggling economies by liberal institutions.
When a country has been messed up long enough, reform becomes much needed.
Reform means many things, of course, from cutting budget deficits to improving education.
But a big part of it concerns business regulation, which reflects how much a country encourages companies and how much microeconomic distortion there is to economic activity.
Such regulation is also measurable across boundaries, so one country can be compared with another.
So what does this year's survey of global business regulation by the World Bank reveal about which countries most need much needed reform—and which might not?
Italy and Greece are high on everyone's list of places that need to change a lot, and the World Bank's list confirms it.
They come a lowly 65th and 72nd respectively, out of 189 countries.
The same is true, more or less, of France and Spain, two fellow euro-sufferers.
Germany, on the other hand, might not be in such urgent need of change, to judge by this measure.
It comes 21st on the World Bank's list, immediately after the small Asian, Nordic and English-speaking countries that are always found at the top of the table.
This puts Germany above such paragons of business-friendliness as Estonia and Chile.
Japan does not score too badly either, coming 27th, above the Netherlands.
This does not mean these countries can rest on their laurels, but the doing-business scores might suggest why they do a bit better than their distorted macroeconomic indicators might lead you to expect.
The biggest emerging markets, on the other hand, do surprisingly badly.
Russia comes in at number 92, China is 96th, Brazil 116th and India a deplorable 134th—below Yemen.
Yet until recently, these BRICs were exemplars of economic growth.
Two possible conclusions might be hazarded: either they would have done even better had their business regulations been reformed; or, because they were growing so fast for other reasons, they shrugged off bad regulation that would have crippled less buoyant countries.
Or, probably, both.
1.mess up 弄乱，弄糟；搞乱
And when they mess up, you're the one who suffers.
I don't want to mess up my mind, my vision.
2.compare with 与…相比；比得上
Life isn't fair-don't compare with or be jealous of others.
Atheists have precious little to compare with this.
3.need to 需要
We need to stop trade protectionism.
Three things need to happen.
4.better than 比…更好
You know yourself better than I do.
Are religious societies better than secular ones?