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Measuring Progress


Richard Eckersley (Ed). Measuring Progress: Is Life Getting Better? CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 1998.

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This book was the most wide-ranging exploration of national progress undertaken at the time, spanning social, economic and environmental perspectives. It brings together some of Australia’s leading researchers to consider indicators of national performance, what they tell us about the quality and sustainability of life in Australia, and how these measures can be improved. It also includes commentaries by senior bureaucrats, academics and community representatives.

At one level, the debate is about the adequacy of Gross Domestic Product, as the dominant indicator of a nation’s performance, relative to both the past and other nations. However, the debate also reaches far beyond this question to challenge conventional thinking about progress and the relationships between economic activity, quality of life, health and well-being, and ecological sustainability

  • New measures of progress
  • Uses and abuses of GDP as a sole measure
  • Causes and correlations of happiness
  • What “middle Australia” thinks about the changes reshaping their lives
  • Income distribution and poverty
  • Changes in the workplace and the family
  • Health and well-being
  • Measuring civic and social trust
  • The state of the environment


© 2010 Richard Eckersley

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