Crises reveal vulnerabilities in societies more than anything else. The outbreak of COVID-19 is already uncovering just how wrongheaded the United States has been about what it takes for people to get by each day and how what we’ve always used to measure success, having a job, is horribly flawed.
While our sector has gradually become better at measuring outcomes, that doesn’t really matter if we’re not measuring what matters most. It’s a failure with real-life consequences and keeps us off from doing the work that will genuinely ensure people’s basic needs are met, reduce disparities, and help get them on the Pathway to Lifelong Success.
I’m advocating for one primary indicator of lifelong success that all other indicators would support along each part of the pathway. Our sector needs a measure that can aggregate data and give us a real picture of whether people are at a population level making genuine progress. That measure is basic income.