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Thanks for you comment! I think people will always want money in varying degrees, mainly because of what the money represents or the things that can be obtained by spending that extra cash. Now, while some want money just for the money and the status that entails to some, most people desire money because it allows them to live in a place with beautiful surroundings, go to school where they want, not having to worry about health insurance, provide for their families. This is why policy mechanisms that change what governments and businesses strive for is essential; it gives security, personal freedom, health&education etc. a value that is taken into consideration when looking at how well an economy is doing. Changing this doesn’t necessarily mean convincing people that they shouldn’t strive for more money, but it requires political will to recognize the value in functioning ecosystems and people’s well-being.
Carl, thanks for posting the comparative overview of these three different “prosperity” measures. I would like to know more about the specific criteria of the Legatum Prosperity Index–what are the specific forms of capital that correlate with which specific socioeconomic effects? Clearly, “safeguarding personal freedom” is a Western democratic value. The values that underpin a particular index should be explicit; transparent. From what you posted, I would be partial to the GPI, which implicates social justice criteria. Are there other indices that have credibility and are being used, and who uses them? There is an obvious problem with multiple, competing standards in effect—but still better than no alternative to the GDP.Reply
Thank you for your thoughtful response.The Legatum Institute seeks to expand on traditional accounting systems, that is GDP, and include 89 variables spread across 8 sub-indices, each of which has been identified as a foundation of prosperity. As you point out, some of these are typically thought of as values in a Western democracy. Then again, you may argue that so is economic growth in itself, and this leads to a whole other, very important discussion of whether the Western idea of development is even desirable in other cultures and countries. I do not, however, agree that safeguarding personal freedom is something only Western democracies value. Nor is the failure of corrupt governments in letting the riches of its country benefit its people beyond the elite. Finally, the desire and necessity of a healthy environment to live in can hardly be doubted as a universal component of well-being. Have a look at http://prosperity.com/Methodology-What.aspx for full methodology and http://prosperity.com/KeyFindings-1.aspx for key findings in 2012.
If the drive and desire that people show for attaining money could switched to either generating social, human or natural capital then a switch to a sustainable way of life, not dominated by the constant want for more, is entirely possible. The problem lies in the time it will take for this shift to evolve.Reply