This article originally appeared at WALReader.com, the website of our magazine.In recent years, conservatives have used stock market gains as a catch-all reason to defend Donald Trump. For decades, libertarians have pointed to long-term declines in the rate of extreme poverty to promote a profit-based economic system. Both of these habits are indicative of putting to much value in economics. For the conservative, economic growth can hide a multitude of sins. For the libertarian, long-term material betterment for the many can justify immediate inequalities and exploitation for the few. Economics are overrated though. It would be nice if one could simply look at positive income and stock market trends in a country and definitively say “this is a good place to live”, but you can’t and anyone who says otherwise is wearing blinders. There’s more to societal progress than economic growth. Take for example, the following chart:
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