American prosperity on the decline?
When discussing a nation’s wealth, it’s easy to assume that a high GDP all but guarantees an affluent country, and most of the time, that assumption would be correct. But results from the recently published 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index show that although the U.S. has a high GDP, our prosperity rating is on the decline. According to the report, there are factors beyond the dollar value of goods that determine a nation’s true wealth.
The ranking is derived from scores based on indices of economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital, in order to forgo looking solely at economic data and capture “things which make life worthwhile,” a phrase that harks back to a quote from Robert F. Kennedy. Similar rankings exist including Bhutan’s Index of Gross National Happiness and other reports tracking overall national well-being in correlation with wealth.
What does this mean for business professionals?
The way countries are ranked in this report suggest that money alone doesn’t lead to prosperity. If your health is suffering or you spend the majority of your time shackled to a desk, how wealthy are you really? And how far will sacrificing all of that time and effort get you to achieving your career goals? The index found that 12 percent of U.S. respondents don’t think now is a good time to look for a job and fewer U.S. citizens than ones surveyed last year believe hard work will result in greater entrepreneurial opportunities. The U.S. financial and economic outlook has waned over the past few years due to the recession, leading to more stressful work conditions and poorer well-being.
Therefore in order to truly become wealthy, business professionals should find a mix of economic pursuit that will help them achieve the status they want, while not taking away from personal freedom and health. Additionally, they will need assurance that their efforts will actually result in goal achievement in a struggling economy they hope will hit its stride again. The combination of these factors will result in self-fulfillment and bring about wealth that citizens can actually enjoy. Wealth is no doubt gained through a lot of hard work, but its quality depends on the sum of many parts.