Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Question of the day

May 6, 2009

The measurement of human, social, and natural capital has progressed to the point where we could have metrological reference standards for performance, ability, attitude, health, trust, and environmental quality metrics, if we cared to take the trouble to create them. My new article in Measurement (Elsevier) documents the science, and makes recommendations. (See

Having such standards would mean we’d be much better able to estimate the value of intangible forms of capital, to price them, and so to include them in econometric models and financial spreadsheets. Our investments in them would give measured returns, meaning we could include their value in stocks, bonds, other instruments, and in the Genuine Progress Index and the Happiness Index. Having this information would go a long way toward redefining profit as value for life.

In the days and weeks to come, I’ll spell out the technical issues involved. I’ll try to keep it jargon-free, and I hope you’ll help with that! Even without jargon, however, we’re moving into new territory, so new terms will need to be used. I’ll explain them the best I can, and I’ll also pay attention to new or special meanings of words that we might assume are already understood.

So here’s the first of many questions of the day:

Given the demonstrated viability of metrological reference standards for human, social, and natural capital, what would you say is the most important thing to do now to advance this cause?

I’ve been trying to answer this question from a fresh perspective everyday for years. It’s your turn.

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