A series of reports on government innovations from around the world
There are many ways to measure the success of a country, and perhaps the most common is the gross domestic product (GDP), or the total monetary value of a country's goods and services. GDP is likely to remain a vital indicator in the eyes of economists, but it does not reflect all aspects of concern to members of society.
This is due to the fact that some of the factors that determine the quality of life in a country cannot be measured in terms of financial value. Aspects of health, the nature of families and relationships, the quality and style of work, the surrounding environment, and education are of great importance in giving us a sense of satisfaction with our lives. Hence, we have to include these factors in our measurements to understand what matters to members of society.
On the other hand, there is a critically intertwined relationship between wealth and social well-being. That is, poverty causes unhappiness to people, but wealth alone does not make them happy. When members of society in a country suffer from poverty (such as Somalia, which has a per capita GDP of only US$600), the disparity in material wealth makes a big difference in the happiness of individuals. Conversely, when members of a society or country enjoy wealth (for example, the per capita GDP in Luxembourg is $96,000), the impact of income differences on the level of social welfare declines, and other factors gain a more significant influence.