What does prosperity and success mean

Quality of life / measurement of wealth

Increasing consumption does not directly lead to an increasing quality of life. Once the basic economic needs have been met, immaterial values ​​such as health, relationships and meaningfulness come to the fore. Ultimately, the success of an economy must also be measured by the prosperity and quality of life of its citizens.

The usual method of measuring economic success is essentially based on a single material quantity, expressed in terms of GDP. Aspects that go beyond pure production success, such as quality of life, environmental wealth, social wealth and distribution issues, remain underexposed.


  • How can economic measuring instruments be extended to record wealth and quality of life?
  • How can we better grasp aspects of distribution and wealth as useful or undesirable consequences of our economic activity?
  • Which internationally comparable indicators are already available that offer a realistic alternative or supplement to the GDP data?
  • Which data, which provides information beyond the existing statistics, can also be used? Can regular data surveys be expanded with little effort, and which questions / topic complexes would have to be included here?
  • How are subjective and individual variables such as well-being and objective, technical variables to be combined?

Possible actions

  • (Further) development of indicators for measuring prosperity, well-being and quality of life according to the motto: "measure what matters"
  • Regular measurements / data collection in order to be able to determine changes over time
  • Measurements should ideally demonstrate that low environmental consumption can go hand in hand with high well-being ("good lives need not cost the Earth")
  • Credible and reliable measures of human wellbeing must take social capital into account / the importance of social relationships (“sociability”) for quality of life should become more conscious of decision-makers
  • Policies for increasing social capital in urban planning, education, the health system, the media, etc.
  • The question of distribution plays a major role, as people who live in "more equal" societies (e.g., which are characterized by a small income gap) tend to be happier

You can find more information in the Policy Papers!

Material prosperity is not everything

Mr. and Mrs. Klein spent a wonderful evening for two: First, a good dinner was cooked together and eaten with pleasure, then they played their favorite game, backgammon, until well after midnight.

Both enjoyed the evening very much, because time for two has become rare in recent years. Mr. Klein is still in seventh heaven, while the next day he reads an interesting article in his newspaper and concludes from it: Although he had a great evening with his wife, they hardly contributed to the gross domestic product and thus to the material prosperity of the country.

For GDP it would have been better to spend the evening in a restaurant instead, then have an accident and take a taxi home. An evening that would hardly have made the Kleins happy. Mr. Klein no longer understands the world: How can material damage contribute to the prosperity of the nation, while other factors such as health have no or even negative effects on it? Makes him think that the satisfaction or happiness he has personally experienced play no role in the prosperity of the nation.