How can we make 2022 better than 2021? | Ariel Beery

Changing the way we measure our success can help us be more successful

So how was 2021? Despite the pandemic, despite the rising cost of living, despite the centralization of our economy around the most expensive city in the world, Israel ends 2021 with one of the highest economic growth rates in the world: 7%, just behind India (9.5%) and China (8%). Israeli exports, led by the tech sector, have reached an all-time high and are expected to top $140 billion in 2021. But if all is well, why do so many of us feel so hopeless about our future?

Despite the pandemic, despite the rising cost of living, Israel ends 2021 with record economic growth. But if things are going so well, why do so many of us feel so hopeless?

Whether our economy is growing by 2% or 7% (or shrinking by 3%) is less meaningful to most of us than whether we have good food on the table, a safe home to sleep in, and opportunities for our children. to live a fulfilling life. . Many of us remember that money is an instrument to achieve happiness, not the essential ingredient of happiness. We want to feel needed, loved, and have the time and money to take care of those who are dear to us. Above all, we want to be healthy and ensure the health of our loved ones. None of this is captured by GDP measures.

The pandemic has forcefully underscored how disconnected our economy is from our health and well-being. Even as Delta and now Omicron swept the world, financial profits hit record highs. Billionaires have become trillionaires. Even as entire countries and continents turned red, our export industry turned deep green and pushed real estate prices higher. As we enter our third year of the pandemic, it is time for Israel and the world to mature beyond GDP and focus public planning on measures that more accurately reflect our aspirations as a people.

As we enter our third year of the pandemic, it’s time for Israel to mature beyond GDP and focus on metrics that more accurately reflect our aspirations as a people.

A number of efforts have been made over the years to present alternatives to GDP as a primary criterion for state success. Whether it is Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH), Social Progress Index or the OECD’s Better Life Index (BLI), the primary focus of these efforts is to measure this that matters so that we can manage what we measure. Unfortunately, our decision to continue to measure our progress by GDP and economic growth shows our people that in a time of pandemics and extreme weather events, we are more interested in the amount of money that returns to capital. than the number of children who know their future is secure.

With a budget behind us and representing the widest sectoral spectrum of any government in Israel’s history, the government of change has a unique opportunity to set as its next challenge the creation of a single, clear measure by which our company can judge its success. We don’t need to wait for others to do it for us because they may not share our values ​​and priorities.

To create an Israeli measure of social success, the government should appoint an inter-ministerial committee to bring together representatives from each of Israel’s social groups, to start a conversation about how we each judge our quality of life in Israel. With a baseline proposed by these representatives, the government should then call for public comment and conversation, engaging Israel’s strong civil society and business leaders to test this index, and project back whether the use of the index would have accurately described the changes in Israel. society in recent decades. Once a reasonable fit is found, the government should enact this measure with a commitment to regular review, once every seven years, and future policy should be assessed against our new measure of social success.

Constructing a measure of Israeli success that represents the shared aspirations of our mosaic of communities will give public leaders the opportunity to rally around what we have in common as opposed to what separates us.

By focusing the public conversation on how we work for a better life for all our citizens, we can overcome the superficial politicized manipulation that past leaders use to sow discord and foment insurrection. By setting a goal of a single index that represents how we judge whether things are improving, we will create an opportunity for consensus that can outlast the current coalition and give future generations a North Star to guide them.

With (hopefully) years before an election campaign pushes politicians to re-emphasize their differences, we are living at a unique moment in our history when it is possible to build on our strengths. Constructing a measure of Israeli success that represents the shared aspirations of our mosaic of communities will give public leaders the opportunity to rally around what we have in common as opposed to what separates us.

As surveys by the Israel Democracy Institute have repeatedly shown, there is a broad consensus in Israeli social sectors about the country we would like to become. Israel is above all a traditional society, a society that prioritizes family and well-being over material success. Israel is one of the only countries that celebrates its Independence Day by loudly proclaiming its population growth, a country with one of the highest per capita birth rates in the developed world. As any parent knows, bringing life into the world is the easy part; we will be judged – by our children and ourselves – on the quality of life we ​​can provide. Determining how this quality is measured will be all the more important during the period of radical change that we will soon experience as climate collapse affects our world.

If we work together, by the end of 2022 our metrics could reflect how hard we are working toward that most holy end: to secure a good life for ourselves, our neighbors, and our children.

2022 offers us all an opportunity to reflect on the aspiration, deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, to choose life. We should measure our progress towards this choice, focusing on the essential rather than the instrumental. If we work together, by the end of 2022 our metrics could reflect how hard we are working toward that most holy end: to secure a good life for ourselves, our neighbors, and our children.

Dedicated to solving the problems facing humanity with sustainable and scalable solutions, Ariel Beery has co-founded and led 3 social enterprises based in Israel over the past two decades: CoVelocity, MobileODT and PresenTense Group. His geopolitical writings – with deeper dives into the topics covered in singular columns – can be found on his sub-pile, A Lighthouse.

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