The UK outstrips the United States, Germany, France and Japan for overall progress in living standards, infrastructure and individual opportunity according to the index designed by a team of US economists.
Only Sweden scores more highly overall in the new “Social Progress Index” (SPI), which ranks 50 leading countries by combining figures on everything from health and crime to broadband access and freedom of speech.
Polly will be outraged because we are almost like Sweden and thus her life\’s work is done. Large numbers will be outraged because, well, how could anything be good as we cower under the Cameron Terror?
“If you think of Britain’s self image as straddling the best of Europe and the best of America that is what seems to be coming across in the data,” he said.
That will piss off everyone who thinks we should be more european. Or more American.
Not that this new measure is really all that good: for once you go past truly objective measures of anything then what is good or bad becomes entirely a matter of opinion? What\’s the weighting between wealth and inequality for example? Or wealth and freedom and liberty?
I, for example, think the absolute level of wealth to be more important than inequality. Famously, large numbers of people at least claim that they believe the other way around. I also thjink freedom and liberty more important than wealth: but absolutely every socialist disagrees on that, at least with economic freedom. And of course there are those who think enforced equality is more important that freedom and or liberty: another view I disagree with.
The merit of GDP is that it is just what it is. It\’s a measurement of the value added in the economy. Sure, it doesn\’t measure distribution, doesn\’t measure depreciation of natural resources, lots of problems with it but it is what it is. All of these other indexes are highly contentious precisely because they are, well, they\’re made up of contentious value jusdgements.