I am impressed by the infographics used by the recently founded (2012) non-profit, The Social Progress Imperative. The Social Progress Index attempts to ‘measure the extent to which countries provide for the non-economic needs of their citizens’. Their argument goes that GDP is insufficient as a measure of wellbeing, that economic growth is not enough for a country to progress as it is not always accompanied by social and environmental improvements. As a result, they measure social progress (which is also defined as social innovation) to offer a more holistic understanding of a country’s wellbeing.
The text summary for Tajikistan is:
Of issues covered by the Basic Human Needs Dimension, Tajikistan does best in areas including Nutrition and Basic Medical Care and has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on Shelter. Of issues covered by the Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension, Tajikistan excels at providing building blocks for people’s lives such as Access to Basic Knowledge but would benefit from greater investment in Ecosystem Sustainability. Of issues covered by the Opportunity Dimension, Tajikistan outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in Personal Freedom and Choice yet falls short in Tolerance and Inclusion.
You can then explore elements of the Social Progress Index in more detail and in comparison to countries of similar GDP per capita (proving that you can’t completely escape GDP!). See this screenshot for how Tajikistan measures up against the UK:
Nice concept and nice design. But will we be able to convince the world that economic success does not always equate to poverty reduction? This at least is a step in a more holistic direction.
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