Right now the standard measurement of a country’s wealth and success is their GDP, or Gross Domestic Product. There are a few ways of calculating a country’s GDP, but they are all based strictly on money. One example of its calculation:
GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M).
- Y = C + I + G + (X − M)
Regardless of which calculation method you use, the United States comes out at the top of the food chain. But does that really mean that we provide the best of everything for all people of this country? In other words, is this measurement actually measuring what matters to people? Economic growth does not mean that every US citizen is afforded the best.
That’s where the Social Progress Index comes in; a more accurate way to measure the current condition of our nation. Take a look at this 4 minute video for a better understanding:
So when it comes to the Social Progress Index, the U.S. falls out of the Top 10. Let’s take a look at our report card:
Now it becomes quite clear where our country is lacking when compared to other countries of a similar GDP. The Social Progress Index is not an end-all be-all solution. It is merely a measurement tool that shows us where we need to focus our efforts. When examining this data it is easy to see how accurately this index displays our strengths and weaknesses. A few that stood out to me:
Political Terror: With 1 being the best and 5 being the worst, we scored a 3. This is much worse than other countries of similar economic growth. And recently we find out that our government was illegally torturing POWs. This is a direct indicator that we have very little faith, very little trust in our own government.
Ecosystem Sustainability: We absolutely fail in this category across the board. However, so do the other countries with similar economic growth (GDP). It is very important that we find ways to continue our economic growth without destroying our environment at the same time.
So first we must encourage our country’s leaders to incorporate this Social Progress Index. Use this index when determining political agendas. Vote for politicians (if any) who strive to improve categories in this index where we lack. If we are going to improve as a whole, we must first be able to identify the problems we face. This index is a clear, concise way to do this, and the first step towards improvement for all U.S. citizens. For more information, please visit http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/
Which of the components in this U.S. report card stand out the most to you?