Towards vast prosperity: There is a risk of mudslides

When we talk about the dashboard in the car, almost everyone lights a light bulb – but no one realizes what an interesting word it really is. The word has been around since the time the cart went. The dashboard is a piece of wood (a “board”) that protects the driver from mud and gravel thrown by horses’ hoofs (“dash”). Today’s dashboard in the car still vaguely has the same shape but has a completely different functionality. It provides the driver with brief information about his or her current driving behavior (speed, revs) and the current state of the car (fuel or electrical condition, puncture warning lights and oil level).

The word “dashboard” is a regular occurrence in lively policy discussions about “broad prosperity”. Broad prosperity is complex and broad – as the name implies – which makes it a great tool for policymakers for their day-to-day policy practice. The broader perspective on prosperity goes directly beyond financial and economic prosperity. This includes other aspects that people here and now consider important, such as health and personal development. Furthermore, a broader prosperity outlook takes into account the distribution of prosperity, prosperity for future generations (prosperity ‘later’) and prosperity in other countries (prosperity ‘elsewhere’).


CBS offers its Wide Health Monitor as a Dashboard for Wide Prosperity in the Netherlands. New Zealand, a pioneer in terms of a broader public outlook on policy, released its standard of living structure dashboard a few weeks ago. Like the dashboard in the car, these dashboards have all sorts of indicators that monitor the current state of the various dimensions of the vastness. For example, broader interest monitoring describes the last year’s level and the highest number of indicators for each dimension of the vast richness of growth over the past eight years. For example, the 2021 edition showed a steady or rising trend towards broader wealth indicators of more than 80%, followed by a 45% decline in natural capital indicators for wealth. The New Zealand Dashboard has a similar system that monitors the development of a large number of individual indicators.

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CPB, in conjunction with other project offices, is developing a “Dashboard with Broader Welfare Indicators”. The CPB emphasizes the importance of a broader perspective on prosperity. In a note released today, we launch the new Broad Prosperity Plan, which further enriches the broader richness of the CPB’s entire work plan.

Stefan Thewissen, project head of the Central Planning Bureau

Ambitions go further

However, the “dashboard” is not a happy metaphor for accurately describing the ambitions of planning offices related to broader prosperity. These ambitions go further. Planning offices have decided to map out the implications of policy proposals for prosperity here and now, then and elsewhere. Its purpose is not to monitor current driving behavior, but to provide a toolbox to help analyze the implications of potential driver choices now and in the future. The set of tools will become part of a broader analysis that will help you look ahead and provide policy insights. CPB, for example, has begun to develop an indicator to measure the amount of human capital, the knowledge and skills of the Dutch people. Human capital is the main source of wealth for present and future generations. The aim is to better map the effects of government-planned investments in education with this indicator. The CPB has been working to include the Poverty Index in the calculations, with a greater focus on wealth sharing.

Planning offices draw some inspiration from a dashboard: Planning offices aim at a certain number of key indicators (approximately 15) that may actually affect the driver’s behavior on her or his driving behavior. Like the dashboard, this information can be quantitative or standard.

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Planning offices do not want to protect the policymaker from mudslinging the development of tools. However, they hope that their analysis will provide information that will help politicians determine a course. Maybe the picture of the compass – despite its limitations – is better. A compass indicates whether you choose a particular curriculum or approach a particular direction. How to deal with water and gravel splashing during the ride is also the driver’s responsibility.

This paragraph was previously published on the CPB website.

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