At the Gaidar Forum, they told how happy the Russians are
In the middle of the week, at the opening of the Gaidar Forum, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia’s next goal, after joining the WTO, would be to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This is the famous “closed” club of developed countries with a free market economy. Russia has been actively cooperating with the Organization for more than ten years, but has not yet become a member..
On the third day of the forum, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria himself made a speech, who had come to Moscow especially for this. He was accompanied by Anthony Gooch, Director of External Relations and Communications. It was he who presented the Better Life Index in Moscow. The index was translated into Russian, the third in a row after English and French, on which global research is now available.
Angel Gurria spoke about the scope of work in Russia during his speech. This is, for example, the need to diversify the economy. Next – reducing dependence on oil and gas exports.
“But the Russian government is aware of this problem and is working on it,” Gurria commented on this point..
It is also necessary to improve the efficiency of institutions in Russia – one of the weakest points, according to the Secretary General, as well as to apply innovation more effectively, increase investment and ensure competition in the Russian economy..
Gurria mentioned investments more than once. He stressed that in Russia more money is invested in the economy than investments.
“This is paradoxical,” said Gurria. – Paradoxically, but understandable: doing business in Russia is difficult and risky. … Nevertheless, there are such great prospects that businessmen from different countries come to this country anyway “.
Better Life Index in Russian
Anthony Gooch presented the Better Life Index in Russia for the first time. The index in Russian was prepared specially for the Gaidar Forum.
The Index is an OECD initiative. It is a tool for comparing well-being in different countries in several aspects – the most important indicators of physical conditions and quality of life..
“People demonstrate their preferences, and based on their choice, some conclusions can be drawn about the country,” explained Gutsch at the presentation. – GDP has become an obsession. But he cannot measure anything that actually makes a person’s life happy. “.
“We need to know what is important for people, because this is why our organization exists,” Gutsch emphasized..
The initiative was born in 2011, but has already collected significant data in countries such as the United States, France and England. In Russia, the project has just begun.
“I cannot now draw conclusions about what is most important for Russia and why,” explains Gutsch. Nevertheless, some indicators can already be compared with the results of other countries. The organization’s experts hope that in a year it will be possible to rely on a much larger amount of data..
In a conversation with the correspondent of the Russian Service of the Voice of America, Anthony Gooch commented on his visit to Moscow: “Russia is the first country besides 34 OECD members to be included in the project "Better Life Index".
For us, this is a sign that Russia is striving to become a member of the Organization not only at the governmental level, where we are already cooperating in many areas. The fact that the Index has been translated into Russian is another brick in the wall that we have been building together for several years – effective cooperation between Russia and the OECD “.
Life in Russia
What are the preliminary data of the Index for Russia?
According to many criteria, the assessment of Russia in the index is lower than that of the OECD countries. But if the preferences and values in Russia differ slightly from the United States and European countries, then most of all, as Gooch compares, they are similar to the results of the BRICS countries (a group of five rapidly developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
Some of the index data is fairly predictable. In categories such as “health”, “civil rights” and “income” Russia shows the lowest results. In the Russian Federation, for example, the average household income (after taxes) is $ 14,000 per year, much less than the OECD average of $ 22,000 per year..
The average figures for the financial well-being of a family in Russia are also lower – the same 14 thousand dollars against 36 thousand OECD countries.
Your Better Life Index Tutorial
In Russia, many times less than in OECD countries, they trust political institutions and go to elections. High social inequality and lack of transparency were noted. As for health, the average life expectancy in Russia is 69 years, which is the lowest indicator among all OECD countries..
The controversial criterion “satisfaction” is also low in Russia. Subjective assessments of happiness and life satisfaction are a useful adjunct for comparing quality of life across countries, according to the OECD. In Russia, this indicator barely reached 5 points out of 10.
But in the categories “work and leisure”, “housing conditions”, “society” and “safety” Russia confidently exceeded the average.
Families across the country spend on average 11% of net income (after taxes) on housing costs, half of the OECD average.
Only 0.2% of employees work overtime, not 9%. Almost 15 hours a day are spent on rest and personal care. Russians report cases of attacks twice less often, and they are not afraid to walk the streets alone at night. But in terms of the number of murders, Russia has overtaken the OECD countries by five times..
Education is highly valued in the Russian system of values: In the Russian Federation, 88% of adults aged 25 to 64 have completed secondary education (in the OECD, this figure is 74%), although the quality of education itself is slightly lower than in other countries (according to educational student achievement (PISA)).
“Life Satisfaction” in the USA
The United States is a country with one of the highest levels of wealth. In many aspects of the quality of life, she confidently occupies a leading position. It has the highest average annual earnings, high quality education, clean air, excellent health and a long life expectancy..
When Americans were asked to rate their level of well-being, the average response was 7.1 out of 10.76% of the population reported that they experienced more positive experiences than negative ones on a typical day..
The lowest was the result on the balance between life and work. Americans work a lot and work a lot of overtime. This affects the fact that they spend less on personal care, communication and recreation than in other OECD countries and in Russia..