The Strong 'Dual-Necessity’ principle for ranking social progress

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How should we understand social progress, and how should it be measured? These questions have engaged social thinkers and scientists for many decades. In the context of the growing dominancy of national and international indices, the paper advances a strong dual-necessity principle in the conceptualization and measurement of social progress. At the heart of the strong dual-necessity principle is a profound yet neglected conviction that, from a political-normative point of view, the two components of the concept – subjective (representing people's actual attitudes) and objective (representing external standards of development) – are necessary and only jointly sufficient. The paper defines the principle and initiates assessment and evaluation of it. The paper demonstrates ‘concept structuring’ and exhibits how the distinctive strong dual necessity structure may result in different rankings of countries’ social progress. Hence, it highlights the advantage of having this principle readily available and accessible for researchers, politicians, bureaucrats, and other interested agents and institutions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100559
JournalWorld Development Perspectives
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Capabilities
  • Concepts
  • Development
  • Rankings
  • Social progress
  • Subjective well-being


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