Indexes and Policies

In the 25-26 April edition of the Singapore The Business Times Weekend (p.31), we find a report from the AFP (I presume this to be Agence France-Presse). It spoke of the 3rd Word Happiness Report, which counted economist Jeffrey Sachs as one of its 13 editors. The document uses as variables: ‘real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity.’

It definitely is a more comprehensive measure than the United Nations Human Development Index. That measures: ‘…a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living.’ (In its defence though, the index does not claim to be all encompassing.)

Perhaps even better is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index. It has 11 variables. Alas, it began only in 2011. Hearteningly at least, it is a major attempt to accurately put the importance of income (wages/GDP or other various names) in its more proper place among other crucial factors of overall welfare.