The current – and global – discontent with governments and financial institutions begs a question. What is the goal of economics? According to José Ángel Gurría Treviño, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) , it is “to improve the lives of people”! And, I am hard pressed to disagree with this statement! To this, because of their focus on global well-being (and their hopeful mission), I wanted to highlight the OECD.
The mission of the OECD is to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world”. And, as the OECD turns fifty, it now aims to support governments in their “member countries and elsewhere in four main areas”. These four areas of focus are listed below:
- First and foremost, governments need to restore confidence in markets and the institutions and companies that make them function. That will require improved regulation and more effective governance at all levels of political and business life.
- Secondly, governments must re-establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth.
- In parallel, we are looking for ways to foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly ‘green growth’ strategies and the development of emerging economies.
- Finally, to underpin innovation and growth, we need to ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow.
Also, I find the information/research compiled in their OECD Better Life Index, very interesting. The Better Life Index defines and brings together internationally comparable measures of well-being. This is an informative resource, if you are interested in how your own quality of life compares to those around the world. It is also interesting to note what they include in their quality of life measurements (i.e. what makes for a good life). And, it is good to note that the OECD continues to improve upon how they collect this information (thus improving the quality of the data/ findings).
Further, while it has its critics (its many valid critics) , the OECD’s focus and mission are still very worthwhile. Also, it will be interesting to check back on the organization, over the next three to five years, to see how (or if) they are realizing their mission.