Statistics, Knowledge and Policy 2007

Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies

Is life getting better? Are our societies making progress? Indeed, what does “progress” mean to the world’s citizens? For a good portion of the 20th century there was an implicit assumption that economic growth was synonymous with progress: an assumption that a growing GDP meant life must be getting better. But we now recognise that it isn’t quite as simple as that. Access to accurate information is vital when we come to judge our politicians and hold them accountable. But access to a comprehensive and intelligible portrait of that most important of questions - whether or not life has got and is likely to get better - is lacking in many societies.

The OECD’s 2nd World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy 'Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies' held in Istanbul in June 2007 brought together a diverse group of leaders from more than 130 countries to debate these issues. These proceedings contain 40 papers presented at the Forum.