This is Progress, an entry originally posted on December 17, 2003 in the blog In chronological order, before this was Missed. After this comes Commons. If you're lost, I recommend the about page.

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What we measure is literally a sign of what we value as a society. If critical social and ecological assets are not counted and valued in our measures of progress, they receive insufficient attention in the policy arena.

The current reliance on economic growth statistics alone as the basic measure of prosperity and progress implicitly devalues the importance of our natural and social capital, including natural resource wealth and environmental quality, unpaid voluntary and household work, leisure time, health and knowledge. This practice also fails to distinguish economic activities that contribute to well-being from those, like crime and pollution, that cause harm. The need for better measures of progress is universally acknowledged.

The Genuine Progress Index is an alternative to the practice of equating progress with economic growth alone. The GPI links the economy with social and environmental variables to create a more comprehensive and accurate measurement tool. The GPI accounts for the value of human, social, and natural capital, in addition to standard measures of produced capital, and assigns value to assets like population health, educational attainment, community safety, voluntary work, and environmental quality.

The Genuine Progress Index.

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