Enlightened Economics

Economics for an Enlightened Age

• If Success Was Measured in Social Progress, Which Nation Would Win?

Posted by Ron Robins on December 19, 2014

“So where, you may be wondering, does the United States fall in all of this? Spoiler alert: not among the top 10. The United States ranks 16th, just ahead of Belgium and just behind the Republic of Ireland. The report also notes that Canada, despite being neighbors with the U.S., and sharing several similar strengths, still significantly outpaces us in almost every measure.”
— If Success Was Measured in Social Progress, Which Nation Would Win? By Katey Troutman, Business CheapSheet, December 17, 2014, U.S.A.

Commentary: Ron Robins
The measure being used is the Social Progress Index (SPI). It attempts to measure basic human needs, foundations of well-being (health, education, etc.) and opportunity (in terms of personal rights, freedoms, and so forth). Performance on these measures forms the foundation for economic success and personal fulfillment. The fact that the U.S. is purportedly performing ‘well’ (on highly adulterated GDP numbers) does not diminish the fact that on measures associated with the SPI, it performs relatively poorly. The public perception of the value of GDP is totally illusory and misguided as measures such as the SPI illustrate. One interesting finding is that all the leading nations have small populations and as usual in these types of measures, are mostly from Scandinavia.


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