One of the key aspects of human efficiency is making decisions based on facts and data rather than ideological thinking. This is a critical aspect of having an efficient government and political system.
In the last two posts, I looked at the issues of happiness in countries and why the GDP of a country is not the best metric of what it takes to measure well-being. A report which looks into a wider range of indicators of well-being is called the 2017 Social Progress Index and is published by an organization called Social Progress Imperative, a U.S.-based nonprofit.
The Social Progress Index ranks 128 countries based on 50 indicators such as personal rights, health and well-being, personal safety, and tolerance, in addition to GDP. The U.S. is still the greatest country in the world because we have so many things that others do not. Unfortunately, the results of this study are that the U.S. is “flatlining” in our well-being compared to several other countries, including our northern neighbor Canada.
In 2017 the U.S. ranked 18th overall but is losing ground. Even though the U.S. had one of the highest GDP’s at $52,704, which is usually the main factor that our government focuses on when it comes to how well we are doing, there were several other factors in which we were lacking. These included health and wellness, environmental quality, and personal freedom and choice. The worst ranking that the U.S. had was for tolerance and inclusion.
It is worthwhile to compare us to Canada because of its proximity to the U.S. Canada came in at number 6 on the list. Even though Canada had a lower GDP at $42,895, it ranked higher in every measure except for two, in some cases much higher.
Perhaps the biggest take-away from this is that the countries that rank highest on social progress also rank highest on happiness. Happiness, more than money, is of course what we all strive for most in life. The northern and central European countries lead in both social progress and happiness.
Engineers often use something called benchmarking which means, in effect, to compare yourself to others that have already proved to be doing something successfully. The follow-up to this is then doing what they do. We as a people are, for the most part, open-minded when it comes to what kind of policies we want to enact in order to make our country a better place. Unfortunately, some people allow ideology to determine what they feel is important which often does not agree with facts. And presently our administration, which focuses almost exclusively on ideology to make decisions, has not just maintained our status in social progress at a flatline, but has started to move us in the opposite direction.
We need more open discussion on the topics discussed above, especially in Congress since they play such a big part in setting the direction that our country is heading in. Unfortunately, this is where much of the problem lies.
The goal of these posts is to provide the fact-based story behind issues that we are facing in this country. We can no longer allow ideology to make decisions for us and hold back our progress when the issues that we have are so easy to solve.