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 post, I discussed the fact that our country is falling behind other OECD countries in the category of happiness. The World Happiness Report, as published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, concluded that we are looking for happiness “in all the wrong places.”
The U.S., and in particular our politicians, are almost exclusively concerned with economic growth, thinking that with economic growth comes happiness. This, however, is not true. A report and book by economists Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi entitled Mismanaging Our Lives – Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up, indicates that just looking at the GDP of a country is not a good measurement of economic and social progress.
As the old saying goes, money doesn’t buy happiness. This is true for not just individuals but also for nations. Yet, this is what the U.S. seems to be focused on more than anything else recently. Meanwhile, quite a few other countries are being more progressive on a broader scale which correlates to them being happier, which all makes sense.
As with the World Happiness Report, there is also an analysis that was released this year which ranks most of the world’s countries based on their social progress as opposed to just their economic progress. This report is called the Social Progress Index 2017 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. It is basically a measure of well-being.
Unfortunately, the U.S. now ranks number 18 and is regarded as a “second tier” country. The vast majority of higher ranking countries are the northern European countries but the list also includes Canada. And unfortunately, almost all of the policies that the current administration is pursuing are pushing us in the wrong direction.
The U.S. needs to change how it determines government policy away from strictly economics and to get a more wide-ranging approach to determining its priorities. One of the conclusions of the report is that the world’s most powerful countries have not made progress in dealing with what should be important issues which will help improve the lives of their citizens.
In the next post, I will look at the details of what it will take to improve our social ranking. 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.