Measuring Development

From travelling in Ecuador I have learnt that there is a lot of Ecuadorians that think that migration to USA or Europe will improve life a lot.

But how do you measure what a good life or development?

One way is Human Development Index (HDI) statistic is composed from data on life expectancy, education and per-capita GNI (as an indicator of standard of living) collected at the national level using a formula for calculation.

HDI gives a better measurment then economic growth because I tells the wider pictuare. Countries like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia for exampel that were success stories in terms of economic measures, do not seem to do very well on the HDI.


According to HDI Ecuador is given a relatively high development index and ranks the on 80 spot of the world’s 194 sovereignty states.

But Ecuador’s positive index is strongly related to exports of oil, making Ecuador’s economy extremely sensitive and depending on environment resource which increases the risk of conflict have I learnt from the year at the university.

According to the UN definition, more than half of Ecuadorians citizens live in poverty and the gap between rich and poor is large.

Therfore it would be easy to say according to HDI that life is better in large parts of USA and Europe but HDI doesn’t measure the way that the people think and feel about life.

Can the answer therefore be different?

Well it is hard for me to say but from my point of view  the people I meet in Ecuador smiles, dances and talks more than we do in Sweden generly speaking. When I ask them the majority of the Ecuadorians tells me that life is good. I might be a bit over positive and is difficult to generalize issues like this but I normally tell peopel that ask me:

“What makes a good life for you?”

“I good life for me is when you have money so that you can enjoy life and don’t have to work as a slave like me in order to get food on the table. Look at me I get about 300 USD every month for my work and you make about 3 000 USD every month…”

“I understand, but what about your family and friends, the climate here in Ecuador and the oranges that you can pick from the three over there, the music that you dance and the football filed that’s always is filled with players, how much is that worth? For me a lunch cost about 9 USD in Sweden and for you 1½ USD. I think that life is better in Sweden but I also think that you are happier here in Ecuador then in Sweden and that happiness can’t be measured in money only as a measure on development. But nothing says that development is equal to happiness even do it many times is.”

What do you think?





Ett svar to “Measuring Development”

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