Pop some Tylenol PM and then try to wrap your mind around this: The World Bank's annual "Doing Business" list, which ranks the ease of running companies in 183 countries, has just been released -- and while the US ranks fourth in overall ease for 2011, it wasn't in the top 10 for startups.
Intriguingly, Rwanda is one of the list's biggest standouts: It takes a mere 72 hours to launch a business there, but it takes twice as long here. Also interesting is that Singapore has snagged the top spot for ease of running the day-to-day operations of a business. Access to construction permits, credit, and property is just far smoother there than it is, say, in the U.S.
None of this should be construed as beating the war drum of rah-rah U.S. nationalism, but seldom are we given an unfiltered look at how we rate compared to other countries. It's just worth pointing out that, say, Iraq is near the bottom of this list. Wonder why that is -- and it'll be interesting to see how things might change there next year after the troops come back by 2011's end.
Give the full World Bank list a read here, and make sure to click through on each country name, which further breaks down the stats.