Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The genuine progress index

GPI Atlantic is an NGO which measures the GPI or Genuine Progress Index: a new measure of sustainability, well being and quality of life. This is instead of measuring the GDP, which can be a false indicator because it is affected by high cost of living, crime, disease, natural disaster clean-up, war, and high cost of post-secondary education, among other things. But GDP, or Gross Domestic Product has become the convention method, even though it is a very scewed and unsatisfactory way of measuring our progress. GPI is a very interesting and critical way to ask questions about how we measure the success of our society.

GPI measures our overall well being and subtracts from the index for negative aspects, such as the social costs of obesity and tobacco use. GPI Atlantic has been resleasing reports over the past year on various topics, and when they are all completed it will be a unique description of the quality of life in Nova Scotia.

For example, their recent report on education showed the effects of increasingly rising costs of post-secondary education. This included things like students working longer hours at jobs while in school, and graduating with severe dept-loads. The report focused not on literacy rates, how long a degree was, or how much was payed for it, but instead on life-long learning and a range of 'literacies'.

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