The term Gross Domestic Product is often talked about as if it were “handed down from god on tablets of stone.” But this concept was invented by an economist in the 1920s. We need a more effective measurement tool to match 21st century needs, says Michael Green: the Social Progress Index. With charm and wit, he shows in this TED Talk how this tool measures societies across the three dimensions that actually matter. When we measure countries by the Social Progress Index and not GDP, America falls to 16th place in the world in the latest rankings.
The Social Progress Index , now in its second year, categories countries in three basic sectors:
Basic Human Needs: nutrition and basic medical care; water and sanitation, shelter, personal safety
Foundations of Wellbeing: access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications, health and wellness, ecosystem sustainability
Opportunity: personal rights, personal freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion, access to advanced education
Powerful United States 16th In World on The Social Progress Index for 2015
Writing for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof cites key measures that matter to AOC readers.
The index ranks the United States 30th in life expectancy, 38th in saving children’s lives, and a humiliating 55th in women surviving childbirth. O.K., we know that we have a high homicide rate, but we’re at risk in other ways as well. We have higher traffic fatality rates than 37 other countries, and higher suicide rates than 80.
We also rank 32nd in preventing early marriage, 38th in the equality of our education system, 49th in high school enrollment rates and 87th in cellphone use.
This reality about well-being in America is an international embarrassment and it comes at a time when Republicans are demanding yet more cuts to social well-being programs. It begs the question of what our values really are in America because clearly we are on a trajectory very different from other advanced countries in the world.
First place in the 2015 Social Progress Index goes to Norway, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Japan, United States.