A country's economy depends highly on how it acts as a medium for business. The World Bank just issued its report Doing Business in 2006: Creating Jobs where countries are evaluated on how they facilitate business and job market growth.
In terms of ease of doing business, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA are top. While Ireland ranks at 11, Germany is far behind on rank 19 -- despite the claims of our politicians about how their measures are greatly fostering business.
(via Guy Kawasaki)