What Are Social Wealth Indicators?
Following are examples of the types of indicators that measure Social Wealth. All data should be compared to other nations and categorized by race, income, gender, age, and ability. These examples will be evaluated by experts on the basis of statistical potency, feasibility, and synergistic power.
Social Wealth focuses on the condition of our human infrastructure, and includes our progress in:
- human capacity development (both our capacities for economic productivity and our capacities for caring and creativity);
- our guiding values system (especially whether caring for people, starting in early childhood and throughout the lifespan, is valued socially and economically); and
- achieving our values through government and business investments in care.
Social Wealth cross-cuts other domains and links three major sub-domains:
- Human Capacity: Measures the degree of human capacity development—including development of our capacities for caring and creativity (individually, in families, and in groups and organizations)—for economic success and for healthy and meaningful lives.
- Social Equity: Measures our guiding values —whether caring for people, starting in early childhood and throughout the lifespan, is valued socially and economically—as addressing inequity makes for a more productive, harmonious, and healthy society.
- Care Investment: Measures our national investment (government, business, and nonprofit sectors) in caring for people through unpaid household and community sectors as well as paid sectors – meeting both our human needs and our nation’s needs for the high quality human capital required to compete in the knowledge/service economy.
Human Capacity Indicators
- Caregiving measures: value of unpaid care work; pay for caregivers compared to professions requiring equivalent levels of training and skill; availability of high-quality care (from child care to elder care).
- Education measures: affordable high-quality early childhood education—as the lifetime impact of care in early childhood on human capacity development is well documented.
- Health measures: teen pregnancy rates; affordable family planning and prenatal health care; maternal mortality rates.
- Social connectivity and cohesion measures: value of non-profit and volunteer contributions.
- Environmental measures affecting human capacity, such as air and water quality.
Social Equity Indicators
- Human rights measures: violence and discrimination against women, children, and racial and other minorities.
- Wealth and income disparity measures: poverty rates for women and children (such as female-headed households vs. married and male-headed households, women compared to men over 65); disparity of lifetime earnings between women and men (including disparities in pensions, unemployment, and disability benefits).
- Time poverty rates: differences between women and men related to unpaid care work, such as childcare, eldercare, and care for the disabled in families.
- Status of women and children as predictors of general quality of life and long-term economic success (as this connection is documented by studies such as the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Reports).
- Political and legal measures: legal protection for women, children, the elderly, and minorities; and protection of the environment.
Care Investment Indicators
- Government investment in care work: family-friendly policies throughout the lifespan; subsidies for unpaid care work in families (such as Social Security credits for caregivers); adequate training and salaries for paid care work; investment in early childcare and education compared to investment in prisons.
- Business investment in caring business policies/practices: paid vacation, good health care, child care, flextime, paid parental leave, paid family leave.
- Correlations between investment in care work (unpaid and paid) and human capacity development and economic security (a connection that is documented by the UN Human Development and World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness reports).
- Military budgets compared to education budgets: national as well as for foreign aid for education, especially for girls.
- Investment in caring for and protecting our natural environment.
Data Analysis & Sources
Social Wealth indicators, and the data and analysis to support them, will be defined by experts in a variety of fields, including: National Academy members and members of the Center for Partnership Studies Caring Economics Advisory Council such as University of Massachusetts economics professors Nancy Folbre and Randy Albelda (experts on gender and the value of care work), professors W. Steven Barnett and Paul Kershaw (experts on the ROI from early childhood education), Erwin de Leon and Elizabeth T. Boris (fellows at the Urban Institute who wrote The State of Society report), and Riane Eisler (author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics and founder of the Caring Economics project).
Data sets already exist to support many Social Wealth indicators since multiple studies have focused on various components—from the human and economic return from investment in high quality childhood education to health, education, social cohesion, functional literacy, and poverty. These data sets are available from government sources such as the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, and other federal and state agencies, as well as from academic and other research institutions.
New data will need to be generated to measure some Social Wealth indicators such as the availability and quality of education and training for caregiving, the extent of workplace family-friendly policies, and the correlation between investment in care work and human capacity development and economic security.
Ultimately, the Social Wealth domain will provide important predictive data for economic success and quality of life for the Key National Indicator System by broadening and reframing the social and economic conversation in more accurate and inclusive terms, and by advancing the national debate towards building a better future for ourselves and our children, for generations to come.