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Policy

We Need Better Measures of Social and Environmental Impacts

When historians look back at the 21st century, they will describe us as a global society deeply weakened by incomplete measurement and false precision in how we view our economy.

This challenge feels pervasive.

The U.S. economy, on paper, looks pretty good over the last few years. Yet it feels like there are huge “off balance sheet” costs not being properly measured or accounted for. It is hard to ignore the fact that people in the United States are deeply divided. Trust in government and each other is eroding. But because these trends are hard to precisely measure, it is hard to specifically value the cost. You can make a strong argument that we in the U.S. are unwittingly trading social capital dollars—internally and globally—for financial capital cents.

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