Whatever you may think progress looks like, the governments of the World have long held the view that only one statistic, the Gross Domestic Product, can really show whether things seem to be getting better or getting worse.
It is a figure that compresses the immensity of a national economy into a single data point of surpassing density. The conventional feeling about GDP is that the more it grows, the better a country and its citizens are doing.
Academics have been critical of the measure, suggesting that it is an inaccurate and misleading gauge of prosperity. The GDP has failed to capture the well-being of a 21st-century Society.
Achieving a sustainable economy, and a sustainable Society, may prove impossible without new ways to evaluate national progress.
A report to show a country’s citizens the exact areas – health, education, crime, energy, infrastructure, housing, environment and the economy – where improvement is called for. Such indicators would record how we improve, or fail to improve.
GDP is the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time, normally a year. GDP growth rate is an important indicator of the economic performance of a country.
We have plenty of numbers about the economic consequences but none of the numbers about the social consequences. Environmental and sustainability indicators are a good examples of how big the challenge is. It is equally challenging to create measures that describe our social and emotional lives.