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Phenomenal scientific and social progress since the end of World War II has opened up previously unimagined opportunities and ignited soaring aspirations the world over.Today humanity pursues a common quest for higher standards of living, greater economic security, sustainable development, higher levels of welfare and well-being.The development of modern economy has been made possible by continuous development and refinement of tools and measures.The Domesday Book is a record of the first known numerical census conducted by William I of England in 1085 to identify arable lands, livestock, fisheries and other sources of national wealth as a basis for improved tax collection. Today economics employs a wide range of indispensable measuring tools, including GDP, the consumer price index, interest rate, money supply, exchange rate and the unemployment rate.For decades, the very intensity of the pursuit for a better life obscured the inadequacy of our conceptions and our instruments for achieving it.But in recent decades we are compelled by social, economic and environmental challenges to seek more precise definitions of what we mean by these terms and more exact tools for measuring our progress toward achieving them.One need only try adding and multiplying Roman numerals to realize how greatly the introduction of Hindu-Arabic numerals, the zero, and the decimal place enhanced the capacity for accounting and the growth of trade.

Developed independently in India and Mexico, it reached Europe via Arabia only in the 10th century.The atomic clock has replaced the sundial, hourglass and pendulum.DNA fingerprinting has largely replaced hand fingerprinting as a precise means for identifying human beings.While the general public may regard these tools as accurate measures of economic reality, economists recognize that they are in fact only rough, approximate indicators designed to reflect economic reality rather than accurately measure it.Right measurement is a powerful instrument for social progress, which is why efforts are constantly being made to improve their power and precision.

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