Hannes Richter

The Wealth of Nations

Hannes Richter

In this second series of articles on “Outstanding Members” here are some further European achievements:

Having created hot technology to beat the cold, Estonia has turned into the Silicon Valley of the Baltic Sea. The recent development of ‘Skype,’ which offers free calls over the internet to millions keeping the world’s conversations going, has become a calling card for a country which feels at home with being ‘wired.’

Gender equality empowering women to make a difference in society has long been a tradition of the Scandinavian countries, with Sweden leading in its high representation of women in Parliament at 45.3%. Worldwide, Sweden ranks second only to Rwanda in having the highest proportion of women in government.

If Italian is one of the world’s most beautiful languages, it is no wonder that Italy soared to the top in international statistics on cell phone use. It is the motto ‘Why use two words when twenty will suffice’ that propels the high numbers. According to a recent survey, Italy claims almost twice the number of mobile phone users per capita as the U.S.

Ancient history tells us of the love affair between Greece and the sea. More than any other people in the world, the Greeks have remained mariners without interruption throughout history. A country of only 11 million people, Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world and accounts for 16% of the global shipping force, surpassing Japan, Norway or the United States.

International ratings in 2005 ranked Austria as the No. 2 country in “quality of life” ...that is,… despite its poor showing in Kangaroos. In a frequent misnomer, the country is confused with Australia to the extent that foreigners have been known to ask where kangaroos can be found. T-shirts emblazoned with “There are no kangaroos in Austria” have been sold to tourists for several years now. Recently, however, those struggling to distinguish Austria from Australia have been dealt a cruel blow when a kangaroo was hit by a car near the city of Graz, Styria, and chased through the snow by police after having escaped its cage… As William Shakespeare would say: “Things are not as they seem.”