The Key Ideas

#15 Publish a regular dashboard of indicators of progress

At the moment we have many indicators of progress, but there are so many it's difficult for most citizens to keep track. Thusly, there are a very small number of key indicators which have a prominence way above any others—and one above all. That this indicator—GDP—tends to reinforce the interests of corporations may not come as much of a surprise. By chasing 'economic growth' as measured by GDP, we have pursued stupid policies designed to improve profits in the very short term. Almost all other indicators (apart perhaps from inflation and unemployment) come a distant second.

The trick is to get a balance: too few indicators and it is impossible to make a balanced assessment of what is happening in society; too many and it is very difficult for people to understand what the indicators may be showing. What Scotland needs is a limited 'dashboard' of indicators—perhaps a maximum of ten—which give a more balanced picture. They should be issued together and no one of them should be given presentational priority when they are issued. There can be debate about what should be covered and what indicator gives the best measure, but as well as GDP, inflation, and unemployment there should be something on economic equality, wages and living standards, health and wellbeing, and carbon emissions (there are many others people might suggest such as innovation and productivity and there will be debate about the best measure of each). People should become familiar with the dashboard and should be helped to interpret what they mean for progress in our society.