Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Join France! We need true Outcome measures.

As a lapsed economist I am always mystified by the failure to recognise the difference between output and outcome measures. This might sound like semantics but it has profound consequences on the macro-economic indicators that determine which country is progressing or failing. One of the most powerful illustrations of this is the idea that GDP, GNI et all actually measure progress of a country. They are at best process or out put measures they do not really tell you what the consequences are of such a shift. It is like using the amount of money you have in a bank account or how hard you work to determine your quality of life. It is a poor measure of whether you are physically healthy, emotionally flourishing, intellectually stimulated, spiritually thriving or even financially growing. It is the same for a country. Surely the test of a society's prosperity lies in the life opportunities of its citizens, their capacity to pursue unique aspiration, their environments robustness, the fitness to survive and thrive, the social capital that underpins their interaction, the quality of what they produce as a result, the added value of such production to them and the world around them.

France intends to introduce new additional measure as a result of the work of eminent economists like Stiligtz and Sen. It will include, well being, happiness, environmental sustainability. Forget the Nigerian 7 point agenda setting the right outcome measures gives us an agreed objective standard to judge the contribution of all sectors and aspects of our society especially government. Then we can truly start to have a discussion about where we fail and where we prosper and what needs to be done to drive the progress we seek.

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