Bryden Allen's Website

Measures of a Good Society


It is terribly hard to define what is a good society. We are all very certain that we could recognise what is good society and what is a bad society. But to actually define what is a good society is a different matter altogether.
            However most of us would agree that “equality”, “freedom”, “democracy” and “variety” are the qualities, which a society should support. So, if we can measure these qualities, then this will help us in our search for what could be regarded as a good society. So this is the main purpose of this appendix.
            But before doing this, we should first remember the 3 main criteria that we currently use to estimate how good a society is. (By a “society” I mean – either: a community, a municipality, a state or a nation.)


This diagram shows how different the quality of life

can be in just one country.

Before we start, you my reader are probably thinking – “why should we bother to consider these various measures of a good society, when we are in doubt about their relative importance?” This is an important question.
            We ought to be aware that we all have a tendency to only think about our current problems and then to forget about our distant future problems. And, because of this, our future situation can gradually get worse (I describe this process in my webpage The Unstable Nature of Life and it related webpages). But some of these measures are very good indicators of how gradually our future is getting worse. So this is why it is so important to keep measuring them. Thus “equality”, “freedom”, “democracy” and “variety” are terribly important qualities of for human life. These measures will quietly remind us, if these features are getting worse.

            The measures I give here do not always measure some of the most important features of life. Thus I believe the quality of life, which we enjoy in Australia, is largely due to the culture we have inherited. Thus in our culture we respect: “honesty”, “doing a good job”, “equality” and “giving people a fair go”. We do not automatically respect: either “wealth” or “the current people in power”. This culture of ours is terribly important in maintaining a good society. Other societies do not have this same culture and they suffer from the consequences. But culture cannot be measured in any sensible form. So this is why “culture” is not discussed here. “Happiness” is also a feature which we all want. But again this is a quality that is hard to measure.
            Also I do not mention “life expectancy” as one of my measures of a society (although it is an important measure). In the measures I have included here, I am thinking more about the political form of a society. So the measures given here are those that can all be directly changed by introducing new laws to the society (particularly with respect to the tax laws). And “life expectancy” cannot be easily changed in this manner (this measure is closely allied to “culture”). So I do not include the measure. For a similar reason, I do not include “sporting achievements” as one of my measures.


The full details of all these measures are contained in my webpages called: Current Measures – Economic Growth, Wealth, Low Footprint”, “Equality Measures”. “Freedom Measures”, “Democracy Measures” and “Variety Measures”.
           But each of these webpages is quite large. It is possible you might first prefer to read "A Summary of these Various Measures", which gives a brief picture of all the different measures.



You might now also like to look back at:

my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages).


Upated on 14/11/2016.