The UK has risen to the top of the world in soft power. That’s the conclusion of the hipster’s choice magazine Monocle’s third Soft Power index, reported in November 2012. We’re up from last year’s number 2 position on the back of the Olympics, Premier League football being screened in what seems like every bar in Asia and Africa, and James Bond.
“Soft power is the ability of one state (or organisation, or person) to change the behviour of others through the means of attraction and persuasion, rather than coercion or payment” writes Monocle’s Jonathan McClory. The magazine collected 50 metrics comparing standards of government, diplomatic infrastructure, cultural output, capacity for education and appeal for business. The results give a snapshot of a nation’s potential for influence. McClory notes that some nations undercut their potential the short-sighted decisions or clumsy messages.
This year’s survey see the USA toppled from the number 1 position, thanks to presidential election bickering and inward focus, and a continuing over-reliance on hard power. Germany, Sweden and Japan are near the top and rising, while France’s cultural brand needs ‘a little refreshing’. Brazil, Turkey and South Korea (Gangnam style) are climbing the charts.
You can see a short movie presentation of the 2012 top 20, with each nation’s soft power strengths and weaknesses, at http://www.monocle.com/sections/affairs/Web-Articles/Soft-Power-Sur….