The “Prosperity Index” for Jordan

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Tue 29 March / Mar 2016. 12:05 AM
  • جمانة غنيمات

Until recently, Jordan had no index to realistically measure people’s living status. Nonetheless, general indices have some capacity to draw out the negative, and positive, implications of the Country’s official policies basically, with considerations given to enormous and emergent domestic and foreign factors in play.

In this discourse, criticism was always warranted for the inadequacy of the income per capita of GDP index in regards to accurately measuring the reality of people’s lives, especially with developments in light, of their living status, compared to the index and even outstanding to it. The result, typically, was that these indices were not realised popularly; for how can one align their and the millionaire —or a billionaire’s portion of GDP to that of the impoverished individual?!

Another index that may not necessarily reflect measurements of alleviated popular conditions and prosperity, regardless of how high; the Growth Rate Index. Accordingly, high growth rates, when verifiable, call for governments to brag over their performance, nonstop! Time after time, reciting their “achievement” even after it is long faded, even though governments know —surely, that an 8 per cent growth rate may not mean a thing, as long as the sectors scoring this growth are alien to the common lives of people. Evidence of this is the fact that poverty and unemployment rates did not decline during times of high growth rates in Jordan, as indices of economic growth become mere illusion for most Jordanians.

In this regard, the inception of a Jordanian, domestic index, indeed calls for celebration; since it comes from the core of Jordan’s reality and the efforts of Jordanians; the “Prosperity Index” for Jordan, formulated by the Jordan Strategy Forum. The Prosperity Index shows that generally, Jordan has been overall progressing along the Living Environment axis, and indicates stability along the lines of Human Capital Development, as opposed to regression in terms of Income.

Notably, all three aspects are imperative. However, “income” remains the primary axis showing decline in whole, since 2007 hereon. This underlines the exposure of the direct implications of governmental policies over the last 8 years, on a primary, decisive level in terms of people’s lives and livelihood.

And should there be need to stress the importance of the “Prosperity Index” itself, then it is also more important to mention that this index is a product of a domestic, national thought centre with 60 Jordanian companies contributing as members, running on pure domestic capital, and pillaring the work of the “Forum”, which revoked foreign funding to retain autonomy.

When talks about establishing the Jordan Strategy Forum first took place, arguments revolved around whether a national assembly can be found to invest in the interest of the people dispatched from narrow, individual interests; to carry the concerns of the public, and effort with national Jordanian research and studies, conducted by specialists and young Jordanian researchers fully aware of the domestic givens, with knowledge of society’s problems. And indeed it worked out, through relentless persistence and input over more than year to introduce a domestic index —the first of its sort in Jordan and the region, to innovatively, and reliably measure and evaluate the living status Jordanians.

Generally speaking, doubt over the reliability and accuracy of economic figures was predominant, in Jordan as well as in many other countries. International indices, more so, always were —still are, argumentative. Now, we have the Jordan Strategy index, which —if provided the necessary information and expanded foundation, may well serve governments and decision makers, as well as the private sector and its requirements, through a mechanism that premises to overcome many of the flaws and mistakes of planning and guide decisions.