Thursday, January 15, 2009

Measuring America in Human Terms


At President Bush's Jan. 12 press conference, he defended himself on the economy, claiming the "52 months of uninterrupted job growth."

However, employment and unemployment indicators are not very good at measuring job quality, only quantity. They do not measure underemployment or take into consideration, the working poor. The truth is while Bush was president, only the very few at the top reaped the benefits of any economic growth that occurred under his watch. The bottom line is the middle class and working poor are not better off than they were when he took office.

Having said that, the crisis we are currently experiencing goes way beyond what Bush did or failed to do. We've reached the crisis point because society's basic paradigm no longer works.

Civilizations are based upon a shared philosophy that - depending on systemic and environmental factors - evolve or devolve with the passage of time. This body of ideas reflects the social needs and aspirations of society at the time it is created, therefore requires constant evaluation to remain functional as circumstances change for better or worse. However, once an ideology takes hold, it is often times dogmatically asserted into the present, strictly adhering to the social boundaries of yesteryear. This institutionalized way of thinking only serves to constrain the truth.

The economy is supposed to operate in the best interest of all the people, not just the few. A civilized society feeds, protects and empowers its citizens to produce, create and prosper.

Tweaking our "belief system" will not work anymore. It's time start from scratch.

The American Human Development Project for the first time ever, has applied the human development approach in the United States in order to measure human well-being. Measure of America interactive maps not only measures the country and its 50 states, but also of the 436 congressional districts, in a visually appealing format with often distressing but realistic content. The maps above are just two examples.

State Health Facts

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