I grew up under communism, a political regime where the success of politics was measured by the standard of living. A regime was considered successful if people had more and more food (they counted quarts of meat and butter per person per year), more and more apartments, bigger and bigger apartments, more and more consumer goods, etc.
Then I lived for about 20 years under market capitalism, a regime where success was measured by gross domestic product. That is, by the little numbers that make the bankers rich.
And as an aging guy, I slipped into a regime of socially responsible liberal democracy, where success is measured by the fact that people are getting worse off. Less and less food, less and less heat, less and less consumer goods, less and less car rides… and the regime writes out targets – by when we’ll all be poorer and hungrier and more people will have nowhere to live.
The worst part is that each of these regimes has succeeded and is succeeding in achieving their goals.