One in particular (not our own) has recently been reminding everyone that over the last decade their economy has grown at twice the rate of most competitors, and that living standards are also rising fast. And all this while ordinary people who care little for such numbers still encounter the long waiting lists for healthcare, overcrowded transport networks, pollution and impossibly expensive housing, especially for first-time buyers. Yes, there have been great bounds economically, and yes, prosperity has improved the lot of many. So, why should these other real-life measures of wellbeing be taken seriously when the statistics say everything’s looking up? Well, the answer is simple. Statistics do not vote. People do.
—Charlotte Pourley, Brussels, Belgium
©OECD Observer No 248, March 2005