“A society which fails to address basic human needs, equip citizens to improve their quality of life, erodes the environment, and limits opportunity for its citizens is not succeeding. Economic growth without social progress results in lack of inclusion, discontent, and social unrest”.
A recent report by the Social Progress Index (SPI) rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, which include health, sanitation, personal safety, etc.
“Economic growth does not automatically lead to social progress. The Social Progress Index shows that if we are to tackle problems such as poverty and inequality economic growth alone is not enough.”, said Michael Green, Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative.
According to the index, there is a broad, positive correlation between economic performance (measured in GDP per capita) and social progress as it says that countries with higher incomes tend to enjoy greater social progress. However, it also says that economic performance alone does not fully explain social progress.
The top three countries in the world in terms of social progress are New Zealand, Switzerland, and Iceland.
At the bottom tier, we see countries like Yemen (125th) to Chad (132nd). The report says that the social progress index provides evidence that extreme poverty and poor social performance often go hand-in-hand.
Among BRICS countries, apart from Brazil, all others were under performers on the social index. The low ranks of China (90th) and India (102nd) clearly shows that rapid economic growth is not being converted into better lives for their citizens.