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Posted on on December 16th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

The papers write that now also France and Austria might lose the AAA ratings, like the US did already. The papers talk of the EU imploding from its member states debt and banks that are truly insolvent.
The papersin Austria  say that government expenditures will have to be cut  and when you participate at a meeting, the following reception is poorer then before. But then you see all those people running around to buy Christmas presents as if nothing has happened. Someone said to me that people expecting inflation buy now things that otherwise they would have left for later. NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEND THE MONEY THEY SAY.

On December 13th I had on my calendar two parallel events – a meeting to hear about the Arab Spring becoming an Arab winter and an evening concert with singers and old Tyrolean musical instruments.
I picked the latter and had a great evening. I could not but think that I also moved to enjoy the moment and say to myself – yes – you live only once and you cannot worry about the whole world. This is the reality.

The Europeans fought in Durban for a better response to the threat of climate change, and in Brussels to delay the unraveling of the Euro – seemingly this was all about safeguarding Quality of Life in Western and Central Europe – the one measurement Europe is still nearly without rivals.

Reviewing the new Mercer-Rankings for Quality of Life in 2011, we find that Vienna is first the third year in a row, and that among the first ten cities out of a total of 221 cities that were ranked, Switzerland has three cities (Zurich, Geneva, and Bern), Germany has three (Munich, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt, Denmark’s Copenhagen for a total of eight European cities, with Auckland, New Zealand, (number 3) and Vancouver, Canada, (number 5) rounding up the first ten cities.

Looking further down the list we find the first Asian city, Singapore, at 25th place, and the first American city at 29th place and this is the non-representative city of Honolulu in Hawaii. To find American Continental cities one has to go down to the 31-51 range with a total of 7 cities in that range. There is no single Central American, South American, Middle East, or African city among the first 51 cities – Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (40), Nassau, Bahamas (66), Dubai, UAE (74), Abu Dhabi, UAE (78), Port Louis, Mauritius (82),  Cape Town, South Africa (88) and Panama City, Panama (92) are the highest ranked for those continents. All of Asia places only three Japanese cities bunched in the 47-51 range (Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama) in the first 51. Further, only Hong Kong (70), Kuala Lumpur (76), Seoul (80) and Taipei (85) are the other major Asian cities ranked in the top 100. None from mainland China or India.

In effect, the cities in the list of the first 51 are from Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand except the 4 Asian cities mentioned.

Europe might be on its way down the ladder – but the competition will still need some time in order to catch up!

Mercer Quality of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings, 2011
Rank City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Düsseldorf Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
11 Sydney Australia
12 Amsterdam Netherlands
13 Wellington New Zealand
14 Ottawa Canada
15 Toronto Canada
16 Hamburg Germany
17 Berlin Germany
18 Melbourne Australia
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
20 Stockholm Sweden
21 Perth Australia
22 Brussels Belgium
22 Montreal Canada
24 Nurnberg Germany
25 Singapore Singapore
26 Canberra Australia
26 Dublin Ireland
28 Stuttgart Germany
29 Honolulu, HI United States
30 Adelaide Australia
30 Paris France
30 San Francisco, CA United States
33 Calgary Canada
33 Oslo Norway
35 Helsinki Finland
36 Boston, MA United States
37 Brisbane Australia
38 London United Kingdom
39 Lyon France
40 Barcelona Spain
41 Lisbon Portugal
42 Milan Italy
43 Chicago, IL United States
43 Madrid Spain
43 Washington, DC United States
46 Tokyo Japan
47 New York City, NY United States
48 Seattle, WA United States
49 Kobe Japan
49 Pittsburgh, PA United States
49 Yokohama Japan
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