The UK Prosperity Index assesses how prosperous a place is using a combination of wealth and wellbeing across a number of sub-indices. From the strength of communities to the health of the population, the Index goes beyond traditional measures to give a rich picture of life in the UK.
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The annual Legatum Prosperity Index™ ranks 142 countries across eight categories: the Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Education; Health; Safety & Security; Personal Freedom; and Social Capital.
While our ethical traditions know how to deal with homicide and even genocide these traditions collapse entirely when confronted with ecocide and biocide. Today we live in an ethically confusing and contradictory world, a world in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. At the same time as modern thinkers seek to extend the circle of moral consideration to other animals, humanity inflicts more suffering on more creatures than at any time in history. Is this really what we want to do to creation...to drive it to extinction? But extinction is irreversible. Species that go extinct are lost forever. This is not Jurassic Park - we can't bring them back! Over the last century we've participated in something of a binge of unbelievable prosperity. We may have had some intuition that it was a binge and the earth couldn't support it but aside from the easy things, biodegradable detergent or slightly smaller cars, we haven't done very much. We haven't turned our lives around. How we've reached this nadir is just one theme explored in All Things Are Connected, a film that takes us back to our beginning and investigates how both religion and science have carelessly misinterpreted an ancient injunction to have dominion over creation, as a licence to dominate at any cost.
Humanity's challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve prosperity for all within the means of the planet's limited natural resources. Until recently working with Oxfam, Kate has developed a visual/conceptual tool in the shape of a doughnut -- which brings planetary boundaries together with social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive. Moving into this space demands far greater equity -- within and between countries -- in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs. This talk, given on October 9th 2013 at Schumacher College, was the second of 11 talks during the autumn of 2013 on Adventures in New Economics - a wide-ranging speaker series covering the key topics in new economic thinking today, presented by Transition Town Totnes, Totnes REconomy Project, and Schumacher College.
Over the last half century, economic growth has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and improved the lives of many more. Yet it is increasingly evident that a model of development based on economic development alone is incomplete. A society which fails to address basic human needs, equip citizens to improve their quality of life, erodes the environment, and limits opportunity for its citizens is not succeeding. Economic growth without social progress results in lack of inclusion, discontent, and social unrest. A broader and more inclusive model of development requires new metrics with which policymakers and citizens can evaluate national performance. We must move beyond simply measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and make social and environmental measurement integral to national performance measurement. Tracking social and environmental performance rigorously will inform and drive improvement in policy choices and investments by all stakeholders. Measuring social progress will also help to better translate economic gains into better social and environmental performance, which will unleash even greater economic success. The Social Progress Index aims to meet this pressing need by creating a holistic and robust measurement framework for national social and environmental performance that can be used by leaders in government, business and civil society at the country level as a tool to benchmark success, improve policy, and catalyze action. Our vision is a world in which social progress sits alongside economic prosperity as the twin scorecards of success.
Being able to measure people’s quality of life is fundamental when assessing the progress of societies. There is now widespread acknowledgement that measuring subjective well-being is an essential part of measuring quality of life alongside other social and economic dimensions. As a first step to improving the measures of quality of life, the OECD has produced Guidelines which provide advice on the collection and use of measures of subjective well-being. These Guidelines have been produced as part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, a pioneering project launched in 2011, with the objective to measure society’s progress across eleven domains of well-being, ranging from jobs, health and housing, through to civic engagement and the environment. These Guidelines represent the first attempt to provide international recommendations on collecting, publishing, and analysing subjective well-being data. They provide guidance on collecting information on people's evaluations and experiences of life, as well as on collecting "eudaimonic" measures of psychological well-being. The Guidelines also outline why measures of subjective well-being are relevant for monitoring and policy making, and why national statistical agencies have a critical role to play in enhancing the usefulness of existing measures. They identify the best approaches for measuring, in a reliable and consistent way, the various dimensions of subjective well-being, and provide guidance for reporting on such measures. The Guidelines also include a number of prototype survey modules on subjective well-being that national and international agencies can use in their surveys.
Our economy is geared, above all, to achieving growth. In times of recession especially, economic policy is all about returning to growth. But a financial crisis can also be an opportunity for some basic rethinking about what the economy is for, and how through some fundamental restructuring of our financial system we can safeguard our economic stability in the future, as well as achieving wider social and environmental benefits. In recent years, other objectives such as sustainability and wellbeing have moved up the political agenda. Over two years, the SDC's Redefining Prosperity project looked into the connections and conflicts between sustainability, wellbeing and growth. Following a series of seminars and commissioned think pieces, we published the report Prosperity without Growth? The transition to a low carbon economy, written by Professor Tim Jackson, the SDC's Economics Commissioner. Prosperity without Growth? analyses the complex relationships between growth, environmental crises and social recession. In the last quarter of a century, as the global economy has doubled in size, increases in consumption have caused the degradation of an estimated 60% of the world's ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly, with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income. Even in developed countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being remain between rich and poor. Our report proposes a twelve step route to a sustainable economy, and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in light of our evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing.
This report explores the complex issues hidden behind two simple questions: what is progress and what is prosperity? It argues that GDP is an insufficient and misleading measure of whether life in Scotland is improving or not. The report takes the findings of the 2009 Stiglitz Report, which emerged from the Commission set up by President Sarkozy to advise on how better to measure economic performance and social progress. It recommends that the new Scottish Government applies these to creating a performance framework better able to deliver, measure and report on economic performance, quality of life, sustainability and well-being. The report also shows that over-reliance on GDP as a measure makes it difficult for politicians to back policies that are good for society or the environment if they might hamper an increase in GDP.
How do we create a society with local prosperity and justice? How do we prepare for the challenges that climate change and other aspects of the ecological crisis are already bringing? In June 2012 members of what became Steady State Manchester were involved in discussions with Manchester City Council about the idea of a Steady State Economy. While these discussions were open and amicable, we decided that more work was needed to articulate the arguments for Steady State in ways that were appropriate and practical for Manchester. We also wanted to broaden the discussion to include other stake-holders from business (both private and co-operatively run), civil society and academia. This report is a first step in meeting both these aims.