Norway tops the Social Progress Index

Gross Domestic Product has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But, says Michael Green, GDP isn’t the best way to measure a good society.

His alternative? The Social Progress Index, which measures things like basic human needs and opportunity. …

The Social Progress Index determines what it means to be a good society according to three dimensions: Basic Human Needs (food, water, shelter, safety); Foundations of Wellbeing (basic education, information, health and a sustainable environment); and Opportunity (do people have rights, freedom of choice, freedom from discrimination, and access to higher education?) …

Norway

Some countries over-perform on social progress relative to their GDP per capita. Costa Rica is the biggest aggregate over-performer, showing strength across all the dimensions. The key lesson here is that building social progress takes persistence. Costa Rica has had strong education, health and welfare systems for a long time, as well as a long democratic tradition. SPI measures outcomes — life expectancy, literacy rate — not inputs, like laws passed or money spent. There are no cheats or quick fixes

WHY WE SHOULDN’T JUDGE A COUNTRY BY ITS GDP

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Saudi Arabia is the biggest underachiever. I’ve just arrived … Actually I’m scheduled to get to San Jose, Costa Rica May 1st, my first visit.

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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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