I spent entirely too much time on Facebook the other day, having a heated discussion with a friend of a friend about health care reform in the U.S. Me: yes! now! Her: no way! The conversation was making me crazy mostly because she was busy spouting statistics that made no sense and I got myself all in a tizzy, scouring the Internet for better information on comparative health indicators, health spending, tax burden, etc. She could have cared less; it was all "socialism" to her.
Now here comes President Sarkozy with another idea that's going to make Americans like her completely flip out: stop measuring the nation's well-being with the single measure of gross domestic product (income) and start measuring it with more complex indicators that also account for quality of life or as the French say "joie de vivre" including vacation time, health care, and family relationships. I'm sure this will spark a huge debate on how to measure and weight these factors, all of which merit careful discussion. What I like is the acknowledgement that while money itself counts (and counts a lot), it shouldn't be the only measure of societal success. You can read more about the news in the Wall Street Journal.
A tip of the hat to my friend Fernando back in DC for sharing this link.