Progress Indicators

You’re on your deathbed. The Archangel of 21st century economics, aka Umair, suddenly appears before you and asks: “Have you had a worthwhile life? How can you demonstrate it to me so I can open the Pearly Gates for you?”. Here’s what you probably wouldn’t say: “Well, Archangel, let’s see. Mostly, I was miserable, lonely, friendless, selfish, unhappy, angry, anxious, and violently depressed. But never mind all that: at last count, I’d achieved 18 sports cars, 5200 pairs of loafers, 37 plush vacation homes, 47,829 layoffs. And I’ve still got $92,839,082.31 left in my bank account!”. Why, then is that pretty much exactly the way most nations still measure prosperity? All that stuff is just economic output–but what really matters to people are human outcomes. And if output doesn’t add up to outcomes, then the simple fact is: while you and I may be making snooze-inducing “product”, we’re surely not making progress. Progress indicators–whether measures of well-being, happiness, or satisfaction–are meaningful measures of prosperity, fit the 21st century, that go beyond “product” and “output”. They aren’t the stuff of the distant future: already, renegades around the globe are.using them to optimize their societies for real human prosperity.

Load more