Prosperity as a Goal

            Prosperity is a common goal for both individuals and countries in this century. Economic prosperity is the main element of the quality of life. It is also necessary for a country to achieve and maintain competitiveness in the world economy (Crouch & Ritchie, 1999). With increased developments in technology, globalization, and the movement towards production-based economies, countries have to achieve and maintain competitiveness at the global scene through methods such as the creation of job opportunities to minimize the rate of unemployment, strengthening industries to increase productivity, and improving the living standards of citizens to encourage economic growth (Crouch & Ritchie, 1999). These activities result in the growth of an economy and competitiveness in the world economy. Prosperity is a common goal for countries in the global south as they strive to achieve better economic status and compete with the first world countries.

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            One cannot look at the economy of a country without considering its rate of growth and without considering prosperity. Prosperity and growth dominate the larger part of national discourse. Prosperity, alongside the stimulation of growth, is an ever-present theme for many countries, especially those in the global south. The themes of prosperity and growth can be observed from budget surpluses to the global financial crisis, tax cuts, and austerity measures implemented by countries. Prosperity can be looked at simply as achieving success in material terms or flourishing financially. However, the prosperity of a nation should not be simply looked at based on macro-economic indicators such as national income. One should consider the citizens’ joy and fulfillment in everyday life, as well as their ability to build a better life in the future. A country’s prosperity enables the citizens to acquire employment that is meaningful, to lead productive lives, to pursue the opportunities they desire, and to build a good future for their families.

            Prosperity can be broken down into various principles (Van den Berg, 2016): economy, focusing on the increase of income for citizens and the promotion of the people’s wellbeing; governance, which focuses on ensuring that citizens enjoy fair and robust participation in politics and government, as well as ensuring respect for the rule of law; opportunity and entrepreneurship, which involves the provision of equal employment opportunity across all types of employment; education, which is simply ensuring that citizens have access to education to equip them with skills and knowledge for employment and society enrichment; ensuring that citizens are in an environment that is safe and secure; ensuring that citizens are healthy and that they can easily access healthcare services; social capital, which relates to norms, values, and institutions that shape interactions in the society; and personal freedom, which involves ensuring that citizens are free to choose what they would like to do. Countries focus on achieving prosperity to improve the living standards and wellbeing of their citizens, as well as to achieve competitiveness at the global scene.

Prosperity as a national goal focuses on fostering income growth among the bottom percentages of a nation’s population (Greenberg, Dutta-Gupta, & Minoff, 2007), and can be simplified into two main elements: economic growth and equity. All the various principles of prosperity are geared towards fostering economic growth and sustaining it. To achieve prosperity, the economic growth of a country does not only need to be sustained but also needs to include all the citizens, including the poor population. Sustained economic growth, which is inclusive of a country’s less well-off, results in the prosperity of a country (Crouch & Ritchie, 1999). Competitiveness in the global economy is important for any country that wishes to conduct trade and improve the lives of its citizens. All these factors make prosperity a common goal for countries in the global south.

Economic Development and GDP per capita (PPP)

            Economic development is the basis by which the strength of an economy is measured. Sustained economic development creates a strong economy, which creates jobs and opportunities for citizens (Van den Berg, 2016). Economic development is a precursor to prosperity, as it results in the improvement of a people’s living standards, improves property values and production within a country, and improves the incomes of citizens. There are a number of strategic areas in the process of ensuring economic development. These include (Van den Berg, 2016): creating a stable and diversified economic base to maximize highly paying job opportunities and industry growth; expansion of international trade and commerce; expanding international and domestic travel and tourism; revitalizing and building communities, and increasing entrepreneurial development opportunities. The fulfillment of these strategic goals results in the achievement of economic development.

The living standards of people within a country are measured using GDP per capita, a measure of the total output of a nation that divides the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the number of people within the country (Khodabakhshi, 2011). It is used when comparing the living standards of people between countries to show the relative performance of countries. However, GDP per capita is an imperfect measure since high levels of GDP per capita do not necessarily mean high levels of household disposable income (which is an important measure of the average material wellbeing of people within a country).

Conclusion

            Prosperity is a common goal for countries across the world, especially the countries in the global south. Economic growth and people’s living standards go hand in hand with prosperity. GDP per capita is an important measure of the living standards of people and the performance of countries. It is, however, not a perfect method of measuring a country’s economic performance.

References

Crouch, G. I., & Ritchie, J. B. (1999). Tourism, competitiveness, and societal prosperity. Journal of Business Research, 44(3), 137-152.

Greenberg, M. H., Dutta-Gupta, I., & Minoff, E. (2007). From poverty to prosperity: A national strategy to cut poverty in half. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

Khodabakhshi, A. (2011). Relationship between GDP and human development indices in India. In Society of Interdisciplinary Business Research (SIBR) 2011 Conference on Interdisciplinary Business Research.

Van den Berg, H. (2016). Economic growth and development. World Scientific Publishing Company.

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