Economic Performances and Social Progress
Lack of jobs, inequalities and a degraded environment are at the heart of the worry that societies are no longer meeting the needs of people at large. ‘Putting people first’ has to become the guiding principle of all policies if we are to secure stable societies full of hope for the future, as opposed to fear and intolerance that’s besets many countries and communities these days.
Renewed paths to higher growth have to go ‘beyond GDP’ goals. How can we measure whether enough of these assets will be left or accumulated for future generations? In other words, when can we say that we are currently living above our means? In particular, is there any reasonable hope of being able to characterize this with one simple number that could play the role for sustainability that GDP has long played for the measurement of economic performance? All these questions will require bold leadership and innovation from both public and private sectors.
Because Gross Domestic Product is the preferred gauge of any economy’s value, many factors that contribute to human wellbeing are ignored, and spending on fundamental needs, such as health and education, comes to be seen as an expense rather than an essential investment.
Measurement of progress is key, as the adage claims that we ‘become what we measure’.
Development in the end is about transformation, about changing society, changing attitudes and managing change processes. Are we on the right path, especially in the emerging countries of China and India?