The economic crisis is presently forcing our societies to
rethink their relationship with wealth creation and to consider
economic growth in the light of societal well-being. The 21st century
cannot be designed with software inherited from the 20th century.
Although gross domestic product (GDP) is still a key indicator
for measuring our economies, it is insufficient for measuring well-being
since it constitutes a purely accounting standard. Nowadays there
is a need to take account of other indicators which reflect the
variety of factors contributing to societies’ well-being, such as health,
the environment, education and democratic values.
Many European and international institutions have begun to
consider this issue and the initial practical applications. The
Council of Europe has contributed to this extensive debate and this
Parliamentary Assembly’s report reflects these discussions, which
address fundamental issues of democracy, human rights and the rule
of law, not least with regard to their economic aspects.
The report emphasises the need to take into account a variety
of social aspects so as to make headway towards an improved measure
of general well-being and a new definition of progress, which must
in future reflect societal concerns that have been lastingly changed
by the recent economic crisis.