Monday, December 12, 2011

Misleading

I recently read two things about the Netherlands via a newsletter from IamExpat-NL.

First, the Netherlands ranks 3rd in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI) by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Study, but with an open mind and make studies across countries flexible and fluid. Otherwise, you are creating a false ego, and ego is the direction you'll move in. The Dutch are amazing, but to be bound by indexes like these is sad.

To understand what they mean by "human development", I looked into their criteria.
"The 2011 HDI covers a record 187 countries and territories. To enable cross-country comparisons, the HDI is calculated based on data from leading international data agencies and other credible data sources.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of human development and measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions:
› A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth
› Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio
› A decent standard of living, as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita (Purchasing Parity Power in US dollars)"

How can UNDP be so narrow in their criteria for measuring "human development." What about all the aspects that make us human?

I also read: The Netherlands ranked 7th in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2011. The survey was conducted by Transparency International, who broadly define corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This can happen anywhere, and can be classified as grand or petty, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs." Ahem. I really don't know about the public sector in the Netherlands but sure I can see how corruption is less in countries where "everything" is very expensive limiting the opportunities for corruption.

I think if you're holistic in your definition of "human development" and really want to make a good index that helps people to create models for bettering their society rather than feeding egos, then such indexes are a relevant spending of money, otherwise such a study is a form of corruption isn't it?

I don't know, but both these results don't seem to be particularly true to me about the Netherlands; within the constraints of the definition and criteria used to arrive at these conclusions, the situation changes.

Thoughts?

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