New information from the Middle East and North Africa region shows that tracking and leading societal progress requires more than reliance on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures.
Tunisian interviews held by Gallup show the section of the population self-rating themselves as “thriving” has dramatically dropped recently, during which time GDP increased steadily.
Indeed, self-rated well-being has declined at similar rates for all groups in Tunisia, suggesting that the Tunisian population, as a whole, have become increasingly pessimistic about their lives in recent times. This drop in well-being now places Tunisia among the worst countries for quality of life in the region.
Governments cannot assume that increases in recorded GDP necessarily imply betterment of citizens. The political instability witnessed recently during Tunisia’s jasmine revolution and now in Egypt (also polling a strong decline numbers of “thrivers”) provides evidence of the shortcomings of traditional measures of progress.
Changes in citizens’ perceived well-being merit close attention as they provide clear messages to government which may not be obvious using traditional measures of progress.
The Wikiprogress platform is a forum which questions how to measure the progress of societies and what factors could be taken into account to ultimately influence government policy for better well-being of society.