Note : This is not meant to be the only, or final, answer to the question.
Points for using economic success as a measure:
– Economic success is an indication of good government. The govt is able to raise the standard of living of the people (health, housing, infrastructure, variety of goods in the market etc), and create continued opportunities (jobs in a variety of sectors, further education)
– Pragmatists could argue that if world standards of measuring progress have not evolved from mainly economic indicators, then a small country like Singapore is going to have a hard time ignoring global economic standards for the sake of its own measures of success, whatever these may be. Some may say that Sg has been so successful in meeting world standards that striving for other things beyond these standards may actually lead Sg to lose its advantages reaped by its high economic rankings. In any case, the evidence on the ground does show that meeting these world standards corresponds with improvements in the personal realities experienced by the vast majority of people in Sg.
Points for limiting the use of economic success as a measure:
– Econ. growth does not measure environmental health >> Was the environment sacrificed for the sake of econ. progress ? Has enough been invested to restore environmental health ?
– Econ. growth is not a perfect measure of social stability >> Is there equity and social justice in the distribution of the econ. growth ?
– Econ. growth is not indicative of moral concerns, the people’s sense of cultural or national identity >>> Have the negative effects of being economically competitive been left unchecked ? Making economic growth a significant measure shapes people to be more inclined to judge things in terms of financial cost and benefit, even service to others, the society or the country.
– Econ. growth could mean that the people are skilled and employable, but are they achieving their own personal aspirations and fulfilling their potential ? Or are they products of a cookie-cutter system that primarily serves the economy ?