2 thoughts on “Measuring everything that matters to all seven billion of us – in one index number”

  1. Posted 22/06/2012 at 14:40 | Permalink

    Philip talks about ‘the biggest folly imaginable’, but I dare say some imaginations could conjure up bigger follies that he can. It might be fun to try to aggregate, and then measure, the collective folly of politicians… though I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that it would be useful. I suppose one problem might be identifying the various follies — since the politicians themselves might well not recognise them. For example, what bright spark ever thought the creation of the euro would be a ‘good’ idea? That might partly depend on how you compare a political aim with economic prosperity, as well as ‘trading off’ (if that’s the right term) a political aim like ‘democracy’ against another political aim like ‘United States of Europe’. Also how could you relate short-term aims and long-term aims, especially in the absence of an undistorted market rate of interest? And how could you include the interests of generations as yet unborn? Even if one followed Helen Clark’s notion of trying to measure and combine in an index things like ‘equity, dignity, happiness and sustainability’ there is the problem of how you weight them? Does dignity matter as much as happiness? Or more? or less? And how much more or less? Or do you weight ‘motherhood’ equally with ‘apple pie’? I think Philip must be at least partly correct: this is a big folly. But one cannot measure just how big it is, nor whether another folly might be bigger.

  2. Posted 25/06/2012 at 16:17 | Permalink

    Ahh Helen Clark who once declared that the role of government is whatever the government defined it to be. Seems her “development index” is constructed with similar rigour.

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