A Cloaked Prosperity

As mentioned in a recent post here at RJsCorner, we in the US have been duped into believing that stock market indexes are the only indicators we need to measure the prosperity of our country.

Since the stock market in the last two years went from 19,700 to 24,000 which is about a 21% increase it sounds like we are living in the age of uber prosperity. But when you look at almost any other measure we fall pretty far behind many far less wealthy countries.

A better index for prosperity would include quality of life measures and that is what the Legatum Prosperity Index does. It was developed by a London think tank. Here is a little about that:

The 2018 Legatum Prosperity Index is based on 104 different variables analyzed across 149 nations around the world…

The 104 variables are grouped into 9 sub-indexes, which are averaged using equal weights. The 9 sub-indexes are:
Economic Quality
Business Environment
Governance
Education
Health
Safety & Security
Personal Freedom
Social Capital
Natural Environment

For example, Personal Freedom includes freedom of speech and religion, national tolerance for immigrants and ethnic and racial minorities. The Social Capital sub-index includes the percentage of citizens who volunteer, give to charity, help strangers, and who feel they can rely on family and friends…

Source: Wikipedia

This index is actually an index of indexes that include:

  • Gallup World Poll
  • World Development Indicators
  • International Telecommunication Union
  • Fragile States Index
  • Worldwide Governance Indicators
  • Freedom House
  • World Health Organization
  • World Values Survey
  • Amnesty International
  • Centre for Systemic Peace

As can be seen from the featured image at the top of this post, the United States comes in 17th on this index. It should be of no surprise that most of the world’s social democracies come in ahead of us as do some very small countries.

Money isn’t everything except maybe to the top 2% in our country who actually controls the majority of it.

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