The focus of this volume is nothing less than the entire set of social indicatorsstatistics, statistical series, and all other forms of evidencethat enable us to assess where we stand and where we are going with respect to our values and goals and to evaluate specific programs and determine their impact. The kind of social indicators called for in this volume require an abandonment of the Ptolemaic perspective that sees the world revolving around us and require instead a kind of Copernican revolution through which we may better "regard our decisions as involving the total social system, and not only that part of it which revolves around our own persons." Historically, this book can be compared with the earlier efforts of economists to create a stable and useful set of economic indicators. But the problem with economic indicators is that they deal not with the quality of life but rather with the quantity of goods and dollars. True social indicators can function as a guide for economic indicators. Clearly, the implications of the development of social indicators are revolutionary.This pioneering work is intended specifically to state the full dimensions of the problem, to evaluate the present state of the art, and to make specific proposals for where we might go from here.
About the Author
Raymond A. Bauer is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.