14 June 2007

Public services: the key to capitalism

One - two - three, that's the order in which Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal ranked for ease of doing business in MasterCard Worldwide's new MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index.

MasterCard's index ranks the world's top cities in terms of their performance as centers of commerce in the global economy. It consists of six dimensions designed by a team of eight independent economic, urban development and social-science experts from leading academic and research institutions around the world. Canadian cities topped the index in the dimension "Ease of Doing Business," defined as "Availability of quality, cost-competitive trade logistics; level of interconnectedness; and ability to attract and retain talent due to a high quality of living."

"The strong performance of Canadian cities as Worldwide Centers of Commerce reinforces how fortunate we are to live and do business here," said Kevin Stanton, president of MasterCard Canada. "Canadian cities stand shoulder-to-shoulder with leading global economic centres."

The criteria that made Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal the top three in the world included "a strong national health care system, excellent infrastructure, low traffic and easy access to public transportation." The index illustrates how good public services are essential in making cities good places to do business, i.e. to do capitalism. Investing heavily in items like health care and public transportation doesn't just make for better living for people, it makes for better business opportunities. It makes us, if you'll forgive the somewhat clich├ęd expression, more competitive in the global marketplace.

It's no coincidence that high tax regimes in northern European countries produce both prosperous economies and high social standards. As MasterCard's index demonstrates, it's precisely what's to be expected.

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